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.
We had a wonderfully successful 2015 APA convention in Toronto, thanks in large parts to our convention program team: Drs. Joe Miles, Jill Paquin and Norah Chapman. Also special thanks to Dr. Leann Diederich who put together a wonderful presidential reception taking over from our longtime hosts Dr. Kathy and John Ritter. My personal highlights from the convention were Dr. Zipora Shechtman’s Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year address, Dr. Molyn Leszcz’s invited address and our first ever Fellows addresses given by Drs. Rex Stockton, Andy Horne and Don Forsythe.
For those of you who missed my presidential address (with apologies to those who already heard it) I want to summarize some of the points I made in my address: Are We the Division of Group Psychology AND Group Psychotherapy or the Division of Group Psychology OR Group Psychotherapy? One way to begin to answer this question is to look at some of the statistics about the division.
Who are we? Seventy-two percent of the members of Division 49 are health service providers, therefore the division membership skews toward Group Psychotherapy. With the current round of Fellowship elections, Division 49 has 70 Fellows with, 82% of these fellows being primarily identified with Group Psychotherapy. So again the Fellows skew toward the Group Psychotherapy. The division has elected 26 presidents through 2017, of these 88% are identified with Group Psychotherapy. Again a tilt toward the Group Psychotherapy aspect of the division.
Who do we recognize? The division has 23 Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year awardees, of these 74% represent the Group Psychology aspect of the division. Therefore, our lifetime achievement award mirrors the membership proportion of the division and can be consider as perhaps balanced between the Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy aspects of the division. Finally, there have been 22 Moreland Dissertation award winners and 100% of these represent Group Psychology.
So: Are we the Division of Group Psychology AND Group Psychotherapy or are we the Division of Group Psychology OR Group Psychotherapy? I think that we have work to do to make sure that we are the Division of Group Psychology AND Group Psychotherapy. This is important work because our strength, as a Society is the integration of basic and applied understandings of group. In my opinion this integration has to start with the leadership of the Society. Therefore, I think we need to explore new ways of constituting our Society leadership. For example, Division 29 (Psychotherapy) has several domains (Social Justice & Public Policy, Science & Scholarship, Professional Practice, Professional Practice, Membership, Education & Training, Early Career and Diversity) and board members are elected to represent these different domains. Using domains, Division 29 assures that various interests will be represented at the table. We may want to consider a similar arrangements to make sure that specific interests are represented in Division 49’s Board.
As I write this column I am looking forward to the APA convention in Toronto; where we will meet again to conduct the business of our society, have the opportunity to learn about the cutting edge research and practice in group psychology and group psychotherapy, and have the opportunity to renew old friendships and make new acquaintances. As always it will be a productive, fun and thought provoking meeting. As you will see elsewhere in this newsletter Drs. Joe Miles, Jill Paquin and Norah Slone have put together a wonderful program. Below I want to highlight three of the many significant programs that the Division is sponsoring.
One of the many wonderful opportunities that the division president has is the chance to ask a prominent group psychologist or group psychotherapist to present an invited address at the convention. I am very excited that Dr. Molyn Leszcz, MD, FRCPC has agreed to give an Invited Address titled: Achieving and Sustaining Group Therapist Effectiveness (1:00pm, in Room 201B of the Convention Center). In addition Dr. Leszcz will participate in a Conversation Hour, which will start at approximately 2:15 PM in the Division Suite. As many of you know Dr. Yalom and Lesczc’s book, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy is the “bible” for group theorists, researchers and practitioners. I have gotten to know Dr. Leszcz over the years through his impressive theoretical writings and empirical research. Last year, however, I had the opportunity to visit Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and observe Dr. Leszcz co-leading a therapy group. Not only is Dr. Leszcz a wonderful writer and researcher but he is also an astute group therapists and marvelous teacher. I know that those in attendance will be informed, challenged and inspired by Dr. Lesczc’s address.
I am also pleased that Dr. Zipora Shechtman is this year’s recipient of the Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist the Year Award. Her address titled: Lessons Learned from Research on Outcomes and Processes of Children/Adolescence Group Psychotherapy” will be delivered on Thursday August 6th from 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM in the Convention Centre Room 705. I first became aware of Dr. Shechtman’s work when I was editor of Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice and she submitted a brilliant manuscript examining therapeutic factors in groups for aggressive boys. Since that first article, Dr. Schechtman has gone on to be one of the most prolific contributors to Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice. Dr. Shechtman is clearly the leading researcher on child and adolescent group therapy. I am looking forward to learning from her wealth of empirical and clinical experience in this area.
If you read my column in the last newsletter, you already know that we are having our first ever Fellow’s Addresses. We will have total of four newly elected Fellows and previously elected Fellows giving their addresses. These talks will be videotaped and archived by the division. Over time we will accumulate a series of talks from Fellows who are at the forefront of research and practice in Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy. I am very excited about this new Divisional tradition and I hope that a lot of you will attend this inaugural event.
I have been thinking a lot about rituals recently. I was fortunate to receive a Fulbright Award to teach and do research at the Università degli Studi di Palermo (University of Palermo) in Sicily. I have been here since January and will stay through early May. It is a wonderful experience for me both professionally and personally. My hosts, group psychotherapy researchers, have been very welcoming and inclusive. However, I always feel a little out of sync, I do not speak Italian and all of the people and surroundings are unfamiliar. This unfamiliarity is a double-edged sword; it makes everything new and exciting and simultaneously disorienting.
The one time and place, while I am here, that I do not feel quite so disoriented is when I attend Sunday morning service at Palermo’s Anglican Church. I am what American Anglicans call a cradled Episcopalian; meaning that I was raised in the Episcopalian tradition. Therefore I am deeply steeped in the rituals of the Anglican service. My favorite ritual is when the priest leaves the altar and comes into the midst of the congregation to share the Gospel; it is when I feel the most connected and a part of something bigger. Being far away from home and surrounded by unfamiliarity has made me appreciate the importance of the familiar rituals in my life. The familiar rituals give me a sense of connection and belonging in an unfamiliar place.
In his chapter on Cohesion and Development, Don Forsyth reprints Donald F. Roy’s description of “Banana Time”, social rituals that a turned a menial and repetitive job into cohesive group experience for fabrication workers. Roy says that all cohesive groups have rituals that “provide structure and meaning for the group and its members.”
Professional organizations also have rituals that increase commitment and cohesion among their members. I was first introduced to the power of rituals in professional organizations as a young assistant professor at the University of Missouri. I had never attended an APA convention as a graduate student or in my first jobs as a psychologist working in university counseling centers. My Department Chair and mentor at Missouri, Mike Patton, however, was very involved in APA’s Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) and was a consistent APA attender. Mike encouraged me (insisted, demanded) to start attending APA and the Division 17 functions. At my first APA convention, Mike dragged me to Division 17’s Leona Tyler address and the Division 17 Fellow’s Talks. The Fellow’s Talks that I listened to were inspiring, touching, funny, informative, challenging and personal. The Division 17 Fellow’s Talks quickly became an important ritual for me; I have tried to go these talks at every APA Convention that I have attended. Whenever I go to one of the Fellow’s Talks I feel more connected to, and proud to be a member of Division 17.
Division 49 also has its important rituals, but as a “younger” division, not as many rituals as the more established divisions. A number of people have told me how important our annual social is in terms of their connection with and commitment to our Division. The Authur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year Award Talk is another important ritual for our Division. This award talks gives us a chance to come together as a community to celebrate excellence in group research and practice and to affirm our common identity. I really encourage everyone who will be at this year’s APA Convention in Toronto to attend this year’s Authur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year Award Talk to affirm and celebrate you connection to the Division and to Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy.
As a newer division, we have not had an established ritual to recognize and celebrate our Division Fellows. THAT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE! At this year’s APA convention we will have our first Annual Division 49 Fellow’s Talks. For our Annual Fellow’s Talks our newly elected Fellows and some of our previously elected Fellows will give talks about their connections with and contributions to Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy. Please put these Fellow’s Talks on your convention calendar and plan help us develop another important ritual for the Division. Stayed tuned-in to these columns because I will have more to say about our newly initiated Fellow’s talks in my next column.
As I write this column I am reflecting on the APA convention where we again met to conduct the business of our society. As always it was a productive, fun and thought provoking meeting. Once again Dr. Lee Gillis ran a wonderful meeting with just the right balance of attention to the task and socio-emotional aspects of our group process. THANK YOU LEE! When I write my next column I will have assumed the reins from Lee and I hope we will be able to work as effectively as under his leadership. I am also reflecting on the content of the convention and the wonderful program put together by Drs. Jill Paquin and Joe Miles. We had a broad diversity of informative and interesting programs and posters. THANK YOU JILL and JOE! For those of you not at the convention, you missed a stimulating presentation by Dr. Les Greene, the recipient of the Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year award. Les challenged us by giving us his list of group therapy research that he would not like to see any more (thank goodness I did not make this list) and group therapy research he would like to see more. I found his second list to be a great blueprint for the next generation of group therapy research. THANK YOU LES! As always, however, my favorite part of the convention was the reception in the president’s suite. It is always a great time to catch up with old friends and acquaintances and to get to know new people. For me our social hour always turns a big, and at time overwhelming professional meeting, into an intimate and connected gathering. As Lee Gillis likes to say, when he first came to the Division 49 reception at APA , he knew that he had “found his people”. Most of you know that for a number of years Kathy and John Ritter have coordinated and hosted the reception for the division. This was Kathy and John’s last year of coordinating our signature event and they will be greatly missed. An especially big THANK YOU TO KATHY AND JOHN!!!!
In my last column I asked people to consider recording an interviewed modeled after the StoryCorps segment on National Public Radio, describing their experiences with group, an important group mentor or with the Division. I know that during the APA convention several people who worked with and were mentored by Jack Corazzini. I hope that more of you will also decide to record an interview for our archives. In the rest of the column I want to talk about a second initiative that I hope launch next year.
In developing a new group initiative or advising a student about graduate study we may encounter questions like: “I am the new group coordinator at my counseling center; which counseling center has an exemplary group therapy training program that I can look to for a model?” “I am fascinated by how group work and sometimes do not work, which graduate program will help me learn more about groups?” These and other similar questions highlight the importance of exemplars. We all benefit when we can point to and model after programs of acknowledged excellence. A second initiative that I want the board to consider is to a develop recognition that can highlight exemplars of good training in group psychology and group psychotherapy.
I think that a major role of the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy is to encourage and recognize excellence in group psychology and group psychotherapy training and education. Therefore, during our midwinter meeting I will ask the board to consider creating three Excellence in Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Training and Education Awards: one award to recognize an academic program that provides exemplary training in group psychology, another to recognize an academic program that provides exemplary training in group psychotherapy, and a third award to recognize an internship program that provides exemplary training in group psychotherapy.
The awards that I envision would be modeled after two successful and important programs developed by the American Psychological Association to promote the use of psychological science by schools and to recognize. The Golden Psi Award, which comes with a $1,000 prize, recognizes schools that “do an exceptional job of using psychological science to help students grow and learn.” The Suinn Minority Achievement Program Award is presented “to a program that has demonstrated excellence in the recruitment, retention and graduation of ethnic minority students.” Both of these awards recognize excellence AND they also are designed to encourage schools to make more use of psychological science or to encourage programs to make an “overall commitment to cultural diversity in all phases of departmental activity.”
In the similar manner the Excellence in Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Training and Education Awards would recognize excellence in these areas AND hopefully encourage programs and internships to increase their attention to training and education in group psychology and group psychotherapy.
Jean Keim had the foresight to establish a foundation fund as her presidential initiative. One of the expressed purposes of this fund was to be able to fund awards sponsored by the society. When our fund is fully endowed one possible use of the revenue would be awards like the Excellence in Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Training and Education Awards. The foundation fund is a great way to support our division please consider contributing to this fund.
I would love to hear your thoughts and reactions about this potential award program that could be sponsored by the division. You can contact me at email@example.com.
I have jogged or walk most mornings for the past 35 years. At various times three different dogs have been my companions during these early morning outings; however my most consistent companion has been Morning Edition on National Public Radio. I enjoy and usually learn something from all of the different segments on Morning Edition but the segments that often touches me on a deeper level are the Friday morning StoryCorps broadcasts.
StoryCorps is an oral history project that records and archives peoples conversations. Participants often talk about their experiences, their relationship and their feelings toward each other. Within StoryCorps there are a number different initiatives focusing on specific issues or populations. Some of these special initiatives include: The Historias Initiative which collects the living history of Latinos in the United States; StoryCorps OutLoud which records and preserves the experiences of the LGBTQ community; and StoryCorps Legacy which archives stories of those living with serious illness and the ones who support them.
These StoryCorps conversations are engaging, compelling, real, touching, funny, sad, hopeful and meaningful. These are many of the same qualities that attract me to groups and to group therapy. Those of you who have listened to StoryCorps probably have had similar reactions. If you have never listened to Story Corps I encourage you to checkout their archives using this link: http://storycorps.org/. One of my favorite conversations can be found at this link: http://storycorps.org/?s=mother+with+intellectual&term=story.
At our board meeting last winter we talked about starting a StoryCorps type of initiative within in the Society. Our idea is to ask Division 49 members to video tape conversations about groups and about the Society. Please consider this a formal invitation to participate in our GroupVoices project. All you need to do to participate in this Group Voices project is to get a conversation partner and videotape your conversation. Your conversations can be with anybody meaningful to you in your group experiences. It could be a conversation with a teacher, mentor, research partner, co-leader, student, colleague, group member or group leader. You may want to consider talking about: what or who drew you to working with or doing research on groups; some of your meaningful group related experiences; and/or what you have learned about groups. We also hope that you will consider talking about your experiences in Division 49. For example, how did you get involved in the Society, what have your experiences with the Society been like, and your hopes and dreams for the Society.
We already have one conversation in our GroupVoices project. You can check out the conversation between Gary Burlingame (Gary is well known to many people in Division 49 as a prolific and sophisticated group researcher, an innovative and involved group teacher and mentor and the first Associate Editor of Group Dynamics: Theory Research and Practice) and Sean Woodland (one of Gary’s students at Brigham Young University and the student representative on the Division 49 Board) at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT8qeubKn6I&feature=youtu.be.
If you decide to participate in our GroupVoices project (and I really hope that all of you do decide to participate) you can send video recorded conversation or a YouTube link to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.