I truly believe, as Aristotle once said, human beings “by nature are social animals”. My love for groups was ignited while participating as a member in an experiential group for first year graduate students. After initially experiencing a great deal of anxiety, I have realized how much I have grown personally and professionally. I have made it my mission to get involved in as much as I can in the field to advocate for group psychology and psychotherapy.
As a graduate student, I wrote my dissertation on group leadership and attended numerous group conferences and trainings in Chicago, Illinois. Since graduation, I have been involved in several professional organization. I am Member-at-Large in Division 49, and serve as a co-chair of Task Force for Early Career Psychologists. I am a member of the Group Specialty Counsel and helped with the development of the petition to the Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP) to have group psychotherapy/psychology designated as a specialty. I have also been involved in the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA). I am on the Workshop Committee for the 2014-2016 term; we are tasked with reviewing of workshop proposals, observing assigned program events, and providing feedback to the assigned workshop faculty. Shortly after becoming a licensed psychologist, I was certified as a group psychotherapist (C.G.P.) with AGPA. Currently I work as a group coordinator at the University of North Florida (UNF) Counseling Center, as well as part-time in a private practice. I facilitate two interpersonal process groups at UNF, and one group at the private practice.
My focus as a Member-at-Large would be to continue engagement of early career psychologists and graduate students as well as advocating for group psychology/psychotherapy. Please do not hesitate to email me if you have any questions or comments about my candidacy.
I am an energetic, enthusiastic, efficient and effective group member and leader.
Working with members can be creative and challenging. My experience with divisional leadership has always been productive. Humor and cooperation help to achieve organizational goals. Working toward those goals is a shared experience. I welcome the opportunity to promote those goals.
My history with APA and Divisions has been a successful effort..
Yes…I do Work & Play well with others.
College of Staten Island, City University of NY
NYS Licensed Psychologist…Psychotherapist
Fellow , American Psychological Association
Past President: Society of Media Psychologists
Organizer of Richmond County Psychological Association ( Staten Island)
Recipient: Humanitarian/Service Award
Recipient: Staten Island Woman of Achievement ( 2007)
It is an honor to be nominated for Student Representative of Division 49. My passion for group work began when I was facilitating interpersonal process groups and psychoeducation groups for women with substance use disorders as part of my master’s internship. At that time, I became interested in developing psychotherapy groups. I truly found my passion when I discovered intergroup dialogues. With that discovery, I began to blend my clinical interest in groups with a passion for researching them. I currently focus on the processes and outcomes of intergroup dialogue at the University of Tennessee with Dr. Joe Miles, with hopes of developing similar initiatives for the community.
This year, I joined the Group Division’s Diversity Committee and am excited to connect with others on ways to increase membership and acknowledge diversity within our community. There are so many opportunities for integration of group work into other psychology domains, as evidenced by the diversity of specialties within the division already. I am excited to be a part of a group that is working to recruit members from varied backgrounds and highlight the strengths of our members. I would love to work with the board to develop plans for increasing membership and retention, with specific attention to increasing student membership within 49. There is a lot of exciting work being done within group psychotherapy and group psychology, and I’d love to share these developments with other students.
I am again grateful for the nomination to this position and appreciate your consideration!
My Name is Rachel Bitman-Heinrichs and I am a 5th year student in the counseling psychology doctoral program at Iowa State University. I would be thrilled to serve as the APA Division 49 Student representative for the 2016-2017 year.
I absolutely love groups! I find them to be dynamic, rich and incredibly powerful. I love to facilitate Yalom-style interpersonal process groups and have a strong interest in the program development aspect of group training experiences. My research interests lie in self-stigma of help seeking as well as factors that facilitate or impeded group cohesion. In particular I am fascinated by discussions of religion and spirituality in group and ways in which these experiences lead groups to conflict or cohesion. A major goal as student representative of division 49 would be serving as a liaison between board members and students but most importantly helping student’s voices be heard. I would also like to continue to expand group training opportunities for students and early career psychologists working closely with program developers to provide subsidized training experiences and to communicate these experiences to students. Lastly, I would like to further assist in helping students to develop mentorship relationships and spread the word about division 49 to the dynamic group of students who are not yet members of division 49 or new to APA!
The Board of Directors unanimously voted to recommend the following amendment to these Bylaws. (Bolded text represent the old wording and the proposed changes).
There shall be a Board of Directors of this Society. Its membership shall consist of the following persons:
The elected Officers of the Society as specified in Article IV, Section 1, of these Bylaws;
Three (3) Members-at-large, one (1) of whom shall be elected each year for a three (3) year term in staggered sequence as specified in Article V, Section 2, of these Bylaws;
One (1) Student Representative, to be elected for a two (2) year term.
Representatives elected to the APA Council of Representatives as specified in Article V,
Section 3, of these Bylaws.
Five (5) Domain Representatives, to be elected for staggered three (3) year terms. The Domains represented by these positions shall be: a) Group Psychology; b) Group Psychotherapy; c) Education and Training; d) Diversity; e) Early Career Psychologists. Annually, the Nominations and Elections Committee shall recommend to the Board of Directors a composition of slates intended to ensure breadth of representation on the Board by individuals representing diverse backgrounds, interests, identities, cultures and nationalities. Domain Representatives will coordinate with appropriate committees of the Society.
Award winners must assist the Student Committee in promoting Division 49 at two (2) or more division programs at the APA Convention (to be scheduled with Student Committee chairs).
Award winners are encouraged (not required) to attend the Division 49 Social in order to be recognized and congratulated!
What is the application process?
Submit a brief (500 words or less) statement addressing your interest in and/or goals related to group psychology and/or group psychotherapy, and how attendance at the 2016 APA Convention would benefit your development as a group psychologist or psychotherapist.
It is an unfortunate reality that many group therapists run a group therapy session by themselves and while this may appear to be an obvious income generator by the organization, I consider such a practice to be a significant professional error and I will list my reasons for this statement.
A single group therapist, no matter how skilled, cannot conceivably keep up with the richness of group experience. Important cues, particularly nonverbal ones, are in danger of being missed.
Running a group by yourself significantly increases the possibility of therapist burn out since there is no way that you can pace yourself.
Running a group by yourself falls below the minimum benchmark of approved professional practice and can damage you, your clients, and the agency for which you work.
Last, but not least, running a group by yourself is dumb; spelled D.U.M.B.
I feel so strongly on this subject that when young professionals ask me for my support, I am only too willing to supply them with ”the letter,” which comes in three flavors: Mild, spicy, and hot. An example of a mild letter follows:
Director of Training
Mercy Day Hospital
Anywhere, New Jersey
Dear Mrs. Campania,
A young professional in your organization, Thomas D. has asked for my opinion as to the practice of having a single mental health worker running a group by himself. I don’t think that this is a wise idea, and I’m willing to share my thoughts on the subject, as I am national and international specialist in the area of group therapy under discussion.
No therapist, no matter how experienced or skilled, can possibly follow the complexity of group process without running the risk of significantly missing important cues.
In addition, because of the stress involved, it is all too possible for beginning therapists to become quickly burned-out.
From a professional point of view, running a group with one therapist falls below the minimum professional requirements in the mental health field, and I’m sure your organization would not want to be in a position of giving that impression to mental health regulatory agencies.
The sad fact is that the young man under discussion has many demonstrable potential skills to become a fine therapist. It is my concern that unless he works within a supportive professional environment, he will become discouraged and seek another professional career.
With respect to finding an appropriate co –therapist, nothing could be easier. Asking for a volunteer and qualifying that person through a volunteer training program will cost the organization nothing. There are many fine group therapists, whom, it is embarrassing to say, have never set foot day one in any graduate school program: they are naturals and relate to people in a very positive and empathic manner.
I hope these comments have been helpful. It if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
John Breeskin, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.
Many times, in my career, I have been asked to consult to co- therapy pairs. I have not all been surprised to find it that this compares very closely with couple’s therapy. The problems, although they come wrapped in different packages, are quite similar. The pair involved has not been able to acknowledge, let alone resolve, the power differential that exists between them. To say that”we are both the same,” is a copout. This can never be true. One person in the pair may have higher academic degrees, may have more initials after his or her name, may be more charismatic or may have more time in the organization. The nature of the power differential imbalance is immaterial, but it must be acknowledged by the two people involved in order for them to work smoothly together.
The pair has the opportunity to model collegial support and respect by their interaction for the group participants. It is not too strong a statement to say that their interaction must be seamless. They must practice picking up on each other’s comments in a non-competitive manner.
If Bob and Alice are running the group together, Alice says,” picking up on a comment of Bob’s. I would like to add…………. Bob says” that comment of Alice’s helped me understand what just happened……….” this kind of collegial support and respect will provide a powerful interpersonal model for the group participants and will significantly diminish the amount of anxious gossip that the group members exchange with one another in the parking lot just after the group meeting.
I always choose a woman to be my co- therapist in a group. This creates issues that must be addressed. In terms of dysfunctional dynamics, it is all too easy to consider my co- therapist and me to be parental figures and the clients themselves the children. If not carefully anticipated, this dynamic can turn into potentially disruptive sibling rivalry based upon the scarcity model. My second wife was a psychologist herself and we did groups as a co-therapy pair for 10 years. This could have provided a rich screen of fantasy and projection on the part of the clients since my wife and I were not only working together but we were sleeping together as well. This is still another reason why a co- therapy pair must model healthy relationship behavior in front of the group participants.
Additionally, according to my group developmental model, the person who is taking the lead for the first third of the group history, steps down, and the indigenous leaders, with the active support of the co-therapist, takes over the leadership of the group in stages two and three.
I am a superb bus driver; the passengers will get to their destination safely, and they will hear an interesting rap about the journey itself. I am also a loyal and helpful bus passenger provided, of course, that I trust the bus driver. This is still another positive role model that co-therapists can offer to their groups.
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: 10.1037/1089-26184.108.40.2063
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
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.