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Columns

Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Column

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

Group Psychologists as Social Justice Advocates

Our society is more connected than ever. This means that we have more access to news and resources than at any other point in history. We are also being exposed to multiple perspectives now more than ever as any person with a video enabled cell phone and internet access can become a one-time or part time journalist and post, blog, or twitter their daily experiences. Perhaps this is one reason that news of attacks against marginalized, non-dominant groups in our country appears to have increased so significantly. As I write this article, the most recent example occurred June 12th: the horrific murder of at least 49 people during a Latin night celebration at Pulse, an Orlando, Florida gay nightclub. According to the New York Times, this incident was the deadliest mass shooting in national history and maybe one of the most complex, as news reported that both perpetrator and victims had aspects of their identities that were both marginalized and privileged. Despite and maybe because of the complexity of the dynamics, it is hard to ignore the call to action that this incident and those like it draw. When we don’t speak up we become part of a silent majority—those of us that support social justice in theory; however have a difficult time engaging in actively speaking up or showing up for social justice for one reason or another. As my time as chair comes to a close, I thought I would highlight an area that is particularly challenging to many, including myself: increasing social justice advocacy.

In 1992 Sue, Arredondo, and McDavis formally initiated a call for counselor multicultural competency by publishing an article organizing multicultural competency into three domains, which included: a) counselor self-awareness of cultural values and biases, b) counselor awareness of client worldview, and c) culturally appropriate intervention strategies. Under each of these domains were organized three multicultural and culture-specific developmental dimensions related to counseling interactions: attitudes and beliefs, knowledge, and skills. The dimensional sequence was arranged in this way to support the theory that internal self-awareness and knowledge is the first step to understanding the worldview of others. This understanding of the self in relation to others would then extend to gaining knowledge of group differences and the ways that culture, power, privilege, and oppression affect the counseling relationship and larger group dynamics. As the process unfolded the stage was set for collaborating with clients to choose treatment interventions that were culturally aligned and appropriate for each client operating within their unique cultural context.

In 1996, Arredondo and colleagues worked to operationalize the competencies to improve specificity. They defined the Personal Dimensions of Identity model and added explanatory statements under each dimension and domain. For example, under the domain of Culturally Appropriate Intervention Strategies, explanatory statements for the skills dimension included seven sections with specific examples, such as: “can describe concrete examples of situations in which it is appropriate and possibly necessary for a counselor to exercise institutional intervention skills on behalf of a client” (p.71) andare familiar with resources that provide services in languages appropriate to clients” (p.72). They also included strategies to achieve competencies and objectives in the appendices. Operationalizing the competencies shifted the focus on a fourth dimension, action, and some scholars indeed added this dimension to the original attitudes and beliefs, knowledge, and skills sequence (Ratts, Singh, Nassar-McMillan, Butler, & McCullough, 2016). Arredondo and colleagues also noted that, although the multicultural competency model was directed at counselors to build individual competency so they could effectively work with clients from differing racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, if the systems in which clients operated and lived did not change (e.g., institutions that influenced policy and legislation), then the the status quo of oppression would continue to exist.

In 2003, Vera and Speight echoed what multicultural scholars before them had voiced, that one-on-one counseling does not change the status quo of power structures that continue to act to marginalize non-dominant groups. In their article, they challenged psychologists to reexamine multicultural competence and expand our roles to function as change agents at the larger group level (communities, organizations, institutions). Further, they presented some models to include roles such as advocate, psychoeducator, and/or collaborator with community leaders. A bit of self-disclosure: as I was researching for this article (motivated to the topic through exposure to seemingly more and more hate crimes this year and the sociopolitical arguments of the presidential candidate debates), I was conflicted. Part of me was motivated and committed and I was thinking such things as, “I can do this” and “social justice advocacy is a group level process—most psychologists who do group work do some of this already and/or are poised for this.” The other part of me was thinking, “I was better at this when I was younger and engaged in academic systems” and “I don’t have time for this (followed by a list of everything I already do and how many hours I already work and how this work is for extroverts and I can barely be considered as such).” In short, I got all judge-y with myself, and the guilt and shame did not help my motivation and the urge to act. I share my reaction because it gives a bit of insight into the process of complacency (rationalization as a response to guilt and shame) that results in inaction. My motivation was bolstered when Janet Helms introduced “A Pragmatic View of Social Justice” (2003).

Helms, as a response to Vera and Speight, discussed some dynamics that make social justice work a challenge, such as systemic and economic issues. For example, psychology education traditionally focuses on individuals or small groups as the site of intervention with little attention to strategies to intervene at a large group or systems level. Thus, we weren’t specifically taught how to be effective social justice advocates. She suggested emphasizing strategies from consulting and organizational psychologists, who have historically worked in macro level group environments. Helms referenced Shullman’s 2002 competencies, which included a focus on (a) workgroups and intergroup problem solving, (b) identity groups and intergroup relations, and (c) alignment of groups with organizational objectives.  At the systemic level, recommendations included a focus on (a) organizational theory and design, (b) organizational assessment and diagnosis, (c) organizational change and development, and (d) consulting ethics. I appreciated the more concrete examples Helms described regarding developing group counseling skills in order to improve relational interactions between and among marginalized community groups. For instance, “facilitating negotiations among gangs or warring factions within a single community” and “building coalitions across groups to lobby politicians for common goals such as policy changes to benefit all of the marginalized communities.” She also gave the example of promoting identity groups and intergroup relations to “shift the focus of interventions from improving the status of individual members of sociodemographic groups…toward the redistribution of authority and power among identity groups within and across societal strata” (p. 309). Emphasis on these examples brings to mind some of the advocacy work group counselors already do and perhaps provides hope that adding a social justice component is doable, particularly in a group context.

Certainly, the focus on social justice advocacy in the past decade or so has called for a conscious expansion of normal group practice in psychology. However, I think there are ways group psychologists can speak up and show up for social advocacy that we don’t necessarily consider as “counting” when we are evaluating our influence in social systems. For example, showing up, speaking up, and stepping up were actually highlighted on the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students psychology blog #WeAreOrlando. These new generation of psychology leaders offered specific suggestions regarding how we can make a difference and advocate for social justice. For more information please follow the link: http://www.gradpsychblog.org/weareorlando

As my time as chair draws to a close, I look forward to welcoming new leadership to our Division 49 Diversity Committee at the 2016 convention of the American Psychological Association—I hope you make it to Denver in August!

As always, I welcome questions, concerns and ideas for future columns. Please email me at: jsteffen2013@gmail.com

References:

American Psychological Association. (2002). Multicultural guidelines on education and training, research, practice and organizational development. Washington, DC.

Arredondo, P., Toporek, R., Brown, S. P., Jones, J., Locke, D., Sanchez, J., & Stadler, H. (1996). Operationalization of the multicultural counseling competencies. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 24, 42-78.

Helms, J.E. (2003). A pragmatic view of social justice. The Counseling Psychologist, 31, 305-313.

Ratts, M.J., Singh, A.A., Nassar-McMillan, S., Butler, S.K., & McCullough, J.R. (2016). Multicultural and social justice counseling competencies: Guidelines for the counseling profession. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 44, 28-48.

Sue, D.W., Arredondo, P., & McDavis, R.                 J. (1992). Multicultural counseling competencies and standards: A call to the profession.          Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 20, 64–88

Vera, E. M., & Speight, S. L. (2003). Multicultural competence, social justice, and counseling psychology: Expanding our roles. The Counseling Psychologist, 31, 253-272.

Categories
Columns

Group Psychotherapy Column

Tevya Zukor, Ph.D.
Tevya Zukor, Ph.D.

Welcome to the Jungle

Academia has often been referred to as the “Ivory Tower.” I’ve never found it to be quite so idealized. I’ve spent the vast majority of my career working in University Counseling Centers. As a result, I’m often exposed to the soft underbelly of Higher Education. No student ever comes in to say, “Life is great and I had to tell someone about it.” Instead, my clients talk frequently about their experiences with institutionalized racism, sexism, and inequality. They often struggle with understanding and navigating unequal power dynamics that are inherent in the educational environment. Many of these students believe that the Academy is oppressive and that without such tyrannical rules – such as, you must be 21 to drink alcohol and don’t smoke pot – they would be thriving and able to live their most self-actualized life.

As Mark Twain famously said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” While I may differ with these students regarding the externalization of their difficulties, it does not change that many of these students, by the very nature of their beliefs, are ripe to benefit from the power of group. As senior group clinicians have witnessed countless times over the years, group therapy has the incredible power to affect change; even in those who may be resistant or initially unwilling to acknowledge their own contribution to their problems. When you get enough college students in a room – who by their nature are intelligent and determined problem-solvers – it is only a matter of time before the group members feel empowered enough to offer feedback and perspective on the problems that the other members are experiencing. And more often than not, either through a quick intervention by the leader or an astute observation by another member, clients are able to recognize that the feedback they so generously and freely gave to others is just as applicable to their own dilemmas. It is amazing how powerful it can be to simply note, “How has that feedback worked for you?”

I love working in a college setting. The students, almost by definition, are high-functioning and socially engaged. They are truly the future generation and helping them to understand their problems and solve their interpersonal issues pays immense dividends down the road on both the micro- and macro-levels of society. By fostering engagement and resiliency at such a developmentally important time, college counseling center group practitioners play an important part in not only making the world a better place, but also ensuring that such a pro-social legacy continues to the next generation of college students.

However, life as a group clinician at a college counseling center is not without its share of challenges – some of which I have only come to recognize through the painful process of age and maturity. For starters, the pay is rarely what one can make in private practice. When I first started my career and had finished internship, I was ecstatic to earn more than double my previous salary by going from a trainee to a full-time staff member. Having previously made roughly $20,000 as an intern, this new salary looked amazing. Now, more than a decade later, I am no longer an early-career psychologist and while my salary has certainly improved, it is still not close to what my friends make in private practice. While there is more to life than money, it sure does help when paying bills. One can certainly make a fine, decent living working in collegiate mental health; but if you’re in it for the money, you will never be satisfied.

More so than salary, one of the challenges of working in a university setting is there is always another boss. First, you report to your Director. But your Director reports to a Vice President, who themselves answers to a President. And the President? Even he or she usually has to answer to a Board of Trustees. While having such a “Chain of Command” does not necessarily equate to problems, it is almost guaranteed that these administrators will have different priorities and motivations than that of the college counseling center group clinician. One of the challenges of being a group clinician in the college environment is that your specialty is sometimes unknown; and if known, at least under-valued. It is rare that Upper Administration is populated with people who have experience in mental health. Even many Directors, by their experience and training, were never taught the direct benefits and clinical utility of group psychotherapy. To this day, I know of too many Counseling Centers where the Director is a good manager and excellent clinician, but still struggles to view group therapy as anything more than a niche or sub-specialty. At some centers, staff are tracked and evaluated on the number of individual client hours they see per week, but they get no credit for running a group as group therapy does not count as direct service. It can be hard to feel appreciated in an environment where you literally don’t get credit for what you do.

The academic calendar also adds to the challenge of collegiate mental health. There are always artificial deadlines around every corner. No matter how much progress a student has made (or not made) in a semester, it is overwhelmingly likely that services will be terminated in either December or May. Do college students magically get better and resolve their most pressing life issues right as the Fall and Spring semesters are ending? Of course not. Instead, it is the time when most of these students will be leaving the university and returning home, either for winter and summer break. Some of these clients will continue with treatment with a new provider, while the majority will choose to either resume treatment when they return to school or will discontinue therapy altogether. This means that the work of college counseling center professionals is veritably brief and time-limited by nature. Almost as soon as therapy gets started, the client and clinician need to begin thinking about issues of termination. These challenges are only magnified in a group setting. It takes time to get enough members to form the group. Then there has to be sufficient time for cohesion amongst members to develop before therapeutic progress can be accelerated. Finally, due of the number of group members and the depth of sharing that tends to occur, termination is always a multi-week process. All of which must fit within these hard and fast deadlines – the semester starts on a specific day and it ends on a specific day – whether the clients and group are ready or not.

All of these challenges are very real for the college counseling center group clinician. They are the obstacles that have to be navigated not just for our own personal sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, but also so that we can assist in bettering the lives of our clients. It is both fun and rewarding to work every day with such high-functioning and motivated students. It is gratifying to know that the work we do with our clients will benefit them for the rest of their lives. It is an honor and a privilege; one that is certainly somewhat unique – but does it feel like being in a cloistered, Ivory Tower; separated from the realities of the rest of the world? No…it’s a Jungle out there!

Categories
News

Travel Award Recipients – 2016 APA Convention

Student Travel Award Recipients 2016

Michael Awad
Michael Awad

Michael Awad is a doctoral student studying counseling psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has experience facilitating mindfulness-based stress reduction groups for individuals with chronic pain and medical professionals experiencing burnout, psychotherapy groups for mental health and chemical dependency intensive outpatient programs, and conducts four psychoeducation groups per week as a school counselor for adolescents of color entering the nation’s top boarding schools. More recently, he is involved in the development of a research-informed cognitive rehabilitation group for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related dementias. He has a specific interest in working with boys and men of color.

Ashley Barbery
Ashley Barbery

Ashley Barbery is a doctoral candidate attending The American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Washington, D.C. She currently facilitates group therapy for children experiencing social skills difficulties as well as for adults with various cognitive impairments. In her future practice, Ashley hopes to offer group therapy for military spouses, caregivers, and individuals with traumatic brain injury.

Annalucia Bays
Annalucia Bays

Annalucia Bays is a rising fifth-year in Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) counseling psychology program in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to receiving didactic and experiential training in group therapy, she has co-lead three interpersonal process groups for college students and adults; one manualized CBT-focused group for adults with anxiety; and one supportive, skills-based, and process-oriented group for college students with bipolar disorder. Furthermore, she designed, implemented, and currently maintains a new group therapy program in a VCU-run, community-based training clinic.

Erin Crozier
Erin Crozier

Erin Crozier is a doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology at Auburn University, co-chair of the Division 49 student committee, and will soon begin internship at Oregon State University. Her interest in group work began as an undergraduate, was further ignited in her doctoral program, and is a special interest she has been nourishing heavily over the past two years. Evidence of this passion include her dissertation on group training and competence, multiple presentations and small writing projects, and my formation and co-leadership of a thriving group for students with eating disorders at a practicum site with no existing group program. Over the past year and a half, she has become increasingly involved in Division 49 and has worked closely with the student representative to further many exciting projects within the student committee. She looks forward to continuing this work and networking with other student affiliates and division members in Denver, and is very grateful for the division’s travel award to help her get there.

Keri Frantell
Keri Frantell

Keri Frantell really began to develop an interest in group psychotherapy and group psychology during her master’s program, where she had the opportunity to run many psychotherapy groups at her internship site. She also developed an interest in intergroup dialogues (IGD), developing a program for IGD at that institution. Her main focus now in her doctoral work is looking at the process and outcomes of IGD and group psychotherapy.

Nicole Randall
Nicole Randall

Nicole Randall is a female Veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a clinical psychology doctoral-trainee. She has been training within the VA medical system for three years and has found that group psychotherapy is absolutely fundamental in healing the Veteran population. She notes that her military experience gives her an insider’s perspective when integrating military culture into group psychotherapy, and her psychological training and education empower her to challenge and guide her clients with interventions grounded in psychological theory and evidence-based practices.

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Announcements

Candidate Results Delayed

There were problems in distributing some of the electronic election ballots, therefore APA will not have the election results until after July 6th. The division 49 election results will be distributed on the Division 49 list serve when available and the results will also appear in the October issue of the newsletter.

Categories
Welcome

Editor’s Column

It’s summer time! For many professionals at a university or college setting, that means more time out of the classroom, laboratory, committee meetings, counseling center, grant writing and so-forth. How are you going to spend that time? What new activities are you going to undertake? If you don’t have a shift in your work schedule, how can you take advantage of longer daylight hours (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere)?

For me (Leann), one of my goals this summer was to try something new and (hopefully) fulfilling. While my first idea (sponsoring a local student in training a wild mustang to enter into a regional competition) didn’t materialize due to a number of complicating factors, I decided to try something artistic. I contacted a local artist and scheduled a one-on-one workshop in nuno felting. The process involves working wool fibers into fabric, in my case, a silk scarf. I rarely consider myself artistic, but I do love color! And working with soft and whimsical fibers for a day was a special treat. It became a grounding experience where I was immersed in the moment, choosing how to lay the wool fiber, what shape I wanted to create, and let me tap into a creative side I rarely get to experience in such a tangible way. Being able to approach the project, which presented a number of brand new experiences, was also a treat. How often do we let ourselves do something new, something we aren’t experienced at, and still find it rewarding? Being a beginner is humbling and a great time to practice some self-compassion. While my finished scarf isn’t the beautiful masterpiece I might have hoped for, it’s still beautiful. And it’s symbolic, both of the Southern California kelp forests that were my inspiration for it, but also of the possibilities that new experiences can hold. As I start my next project, a nuno felted scarf done without the mentorship of my new teacher, I’m excited to see what I’ll learn.

In this issue of The Group Psychologist you’ll read about what inspires some of our leaders. In the President’s column by Dr. Craig Parks, you can learn of his goal of creating an annual meeting where leaders in the field of group psychology can come together with professionals in industry and government organizations. We are looking forward to learning more about how this could become a real meeting! And in the column by Dr. Robert Gleave (our President-elect) you can read how his dedication to service has influenced and enriched him over the years.

As you pursue the articles in this issue, if you find one you like, be sure to comment, send it via email to a colleague, or “like” it on Facebook.

Articles or brief reports and news items can be e-mailed directly to Tom, Letitia, and Leann at ttreadwe@mail.med.upenn.edu, as can Letters to the Editor.

PS. If you have children and are looking for some new ideas to do with them this summer, check out: https://www.care.com/a/101-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-summer-1305030150

Tom Treadwell, EdD, T.E.P. C.G.P.
Tom Treadwell, EdD, T.E.P. C.G.P.

Editor

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

Associate Editor

Letitia Travaglini, MA
Letitia Travaglini, MA
Categories
Welcome

President-Elect’s Column

Robert Gleave, Ph.D., ABGP, CGP
Robert Gleave, Ph.D., ABGP, CGP

I have been making plans for APA in Denver and have recognized that I’m most looking forward to the Division 49 events – especially the board meetings. I have taken the opportunity to reflect on my years of involvement in professional associations. The overall feeling I have about professional associations is that I receive much more than I give. Yes, there is a financial cost. There are also time, energy, and personal costs. Anything that is worthwhile comes with a cost of some sort. Life is full of choices that require effort to obtain what is desired. It is said; “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” While one can argue the use of the superlative, the general principle is recognizable. Professional association membership and involvement holds a multitude of benefits that matter to me. I won’t be able to articulate them adequately, but I’d like to share a few thoughts.

When I feel frustrated that something doesn’t make sense or I want to cry out “it shouldn’t be this way,” my next feeling can be helplessness because I know it is unlikely that I can change things alone. With like-minded colleagues who share my frustrations I don’t feel so alone. As we commiserate, energy builds until we jointly say “let’s do something about that.” With multiple talents and various skills we can do so much more together than any of us could on our own. The larger numbers carry additional weight to the positions we are advocating, and public opinion and policy can be influenced.

Like all of us, I occasionally second guess myself or get unclear about some situation that presents itself infrequently. Listserv’s, websites, newsletters, etc. often provide excellent information. Having multiple professionals, who I know well enough to call is an important resource for me. Joining with fellow group psychologists in conferences and workshops provides some of the familiarity that helps to feel connected, but working together in a board, committee, sub-committee, or task force setting builds a different level of connection and friendship.

Working on a project that makes a difference for the profession generally also provides a sense of contributing to a cause that is larger than my everyday routine, and I find that satisfying. I’ve learned new skills and developed important qualities through association service. My time as a lobbyist was a confidence builder, and sharpened my ability to be succinct. My time on an ethics committee helped me to be more thoughtful and to consider multiple positions at the same time. Serving on a continuing education committee gave me a greater appreciation for organization and logistics.

It is important to me to be aware of the trends in my profession. Association involvement assures that I am among the first to be informed of new developments and potential shifts in the field (current changes make this a particularly useful benefit). I have been able to adjust my private practice just ahead of insurance company changes that resulted in preferred status with some insurers (and a more stable business).

Being an active contributor to a profession that has fed and sheltered my family also matters to me. Someone lobbied for me to have a license, someone else challenged the insurance companies attempt to decrease my income, another represented my profession to the public through the media (decreasing stigma and encouraging new patients toward my services), and others planned and provided opportunities for me to learn new things that keep me current (and meet CE requirements). I feel better when I also contribute something to the joint effort, even if all I can do is attend a monthly board meeting and share my views or make a few phone calls to encourage new members or to help a legislator understand an important issue. Maybe my willingness to write a short article for a newsletter or participate on a conference call with the early career committee is all I can offer one year. Still, I can feel that I am a contributor. Most association service requires small amounts of time that is able to be flexibly placed into a schedule.

If this sounds like your experience in the groups you lead, it’s not a coincidence. Association work is working in a group, and thus utilizes the power of group processes. This is another reason I find association service so energizing and rewarding. Wrestling with priorities and ways to implement action items calls forth multiple perspectives and the dialogue around those differences has all of the advantages of group work. Relationships are strengthened, learning occurs, the synergy of interaction promotes a sense of well-being, etc.

Yes, there are costs associated with association membership and service, but I have received so much more than any cost required of me. I am so thankful to those with whom I currently serve and also to the many with whom I have served. Thank you for being willing to press me to understand you and for being willing to hear me. Thank you for modifying my good ideas and making them better and for shooting down my bad ones. In short, thank you for letting me work shoulder to shoulder with you in an important endeavor.

I invite any of you to join us on the board. Just let anyone on the board know of your interest and we will welcome you and find a place for you.

rgleave@byu.edu

Categories
Welcome

President’s Column

Craig Parks, PhD
Craig Parks, Ph.D.

Difficult Times and What to Do About It, Part II

In my last column I discussed how the controversy over APA’s purported easing of ethical standards so as to allow psychologists to participate in enhanced interrogation techniques has negatively impacted perception of our discipline. I noted that those of us who work with groups have seen critiques of our expertise increase: We subject people to peer pressure so that they will do thing that they don’t want to do, we force people to reveal intense personal information during group therapy sessions, and so on. Further, many of these critiques are coming from experts in other areas, so we cannot simply dismiss the words as being from uninformed laypeople. In this column I want to talk about some ways in which we can connect with other disciplines to help build awareness of what we do, the scientific basis of our inquiries, and the ways in which we contribute to betterment of the human condition.

The BECC (Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change) Conference is a yearly event at which academics, industry, and government people come together to talk about climate-related research and problems. The 2015 (ninth) conference was attended by over 700 people, with 100 of these being research academics. BECC has become a key event, perhaps the key event, for fostering a mutual understanding of how to synthesize research, practice, and policy on energy consumption behavior and its impact on the environment. Given how many different entities are interested in group-based phenomena, it is not inconceivable that a similar yearly event could be developed around groups. I fully expect that many would greet this idea with skepticism, but it is worth pointing out that the original BECC organizers, a group of 15 from academics, government, and industry, had attendance far in excess of what was anticipated. I acknowledge that energy and climate are urgent and visible topics, certainly more urgent and visible than the kinds of things we investigate, but the point remains valid that a lot of people came out of the woodwork to search for common ground on energy issues. There is no reason to think the same could not happen for a conference on groups.

One could argue that there are already sessions devoted to complementary perspectives and common concerns on groups. This is true, but these meetings are oriented toward collecting researchers from different disciplines who are all interested in groups. I am aware of no meetings (no regular meetings, anyway) at which a psychotherapist who is an expert on leader dynamics in therapy groups can talk to a state government official who is seeking interventions to help his governmental subcommittees be more functional, or a sport psychologist who is studying social comparison in cardiovascular rehabilitation groups can compare notes with a US Army official who is trying to understand how social comparison impacts members of a platoon. (And make no mistake; there is a lot of common ground underneath the individuals in both of my examples.) A yearly conference of this type could be enormously fruitful for identifying research connections, as well as opportunities to extend the practice of group psychology into realms that would like it, but do not know best practices, nor have the time or resources to acquire that knowledge. At our end, regular interaction with those in the industry and governmental sectors would give us the chance to hear about emerging challenges that we could study. And of course, an annual meeting would give us the chance to show that group’s research, and psychology in general, is a rigorous and careful science that generates valuable insights and recommendations. In my last column I encouraged you to conduct a search on “psychology sham science” to see who criticizes us. Noticeably absent from those criticisms are representatives of the energy sector. BECC has shown them that psychology has a vital role to play in their world.

I have begun some informal conversations with some industry and government people to assess their level of interest in such a meeting. I will continue to work on this in the coming months, and I hope that I find a sufficiently strong level of interest that I can begin looking more formally into arrangement of at least a small get-together. I hope to have information on this to share in Denver.

And speaking of Denver, the Division 49 hospitality suite will be at the Hyatt Regency. Please join us at one of our events for food, drink, and conversation. I hope to see you there!