Early Career Psychologists

Training in Group Psychotherapy Virtual Learning Hour

Barbara Greenspan, Psy.D., MHSA
Barbara Greenspan, Psy.D., MHSA

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.

2. The Center for Group Studies

3. Affiliate Societies AGPA – Local chapters

4. Shelly Tochluk- Witnessing Whiteness

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 ( 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

6. Create ones own multicultural genogram