Advertising and how to sign up for this Zoom Webinar Series will be coming out on the Division 49 membership listserv and website in late August/early September
The Art of the Sell: Marketing GroupsScott A. Kaplan September 26 noon EST
Dr. Scott Kaplan will focus on how to use marketing and networking to build a thriving group program in educational environments and other clinical settings. He will identify the goal of marketing, the effectiveness of group counseling, how to create a positive group culture, information about diversity and cultural issues relevant to marketing efforts, how to “sell” group to clients, marketing and networking strategies and techniques, and different types of advertising. Come join in the presentation and discussion.
Racial and Social Justice Implications on the Practice of Group PsychotherapyMichele Ribeiro and Marcée Turner October 17 noon EST
Drs. Michele Ribeiro and Marcée Turner will highlight larger system level issues, such as events of a socio-political and socio-cultural nature, and their implications on various levels of the group including the organizations we work in, the staff we work with and the therapy groups we facilitate. They will invite discussion on how to subsume a social justice advocacy role in minimizing bias and oppression and creating structural changes that affect multiple systems and therapy groups in more positive and equitable ways. Come join in the presentation and discussion.
Group Co-Facilitation: Creating a Collaborative PartnershipWendy Freedman and Leann T. DiederichDecember 12 noon EST
Drs. Wendy Freedman and Leann Diederich will focus on co-facilitating groups in college counseling centers and other clinical settings. They will examine the benefits of co-facilitation and variables that contribute to co-leader satisfaction and efficacy. To maximize the likelihood that groups will run successfully, the presenters will highlight the importance of pre-group and ongoing co-facilitator meetings and provide specific recommendations how to coordinate facilitation approaches and plan the nuts and bolts of the group. They will lead a discussion on identifying methods to create collaborative, effective, and trusting co-leader working relationships.
Insights on Training & Education
By: Michele Ribeiro, Ed.D., C.G.P.,
Member-at-Large for Training and Education
One of my top 5 strengths identified when I completed a StrengthsQuestTM assessment was being a Life Long Learner. Being in psychology, we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to not only be constantly stimulated on new concepts that can be incorporated into our jobs but also into our personal lives as well. Most of us in this field are hungry for learning new ideas, sharing our ideas, and mentoring others on what we have learned. We seek to always be improving our skills on how to be more effective with our clients and help ourselves and those in our personal lives to live happier, more fulfilling lives. As a result, I am pleased to offer this new column each quarter as a way for therapists at all levels of their career to share experiences within the area of group psychotherapy or psychology. Division 49 is our professional home that we hope to share with those new to the field and those who are seasoned and want to stay connected with like-minded professionals. I am interested to hear about your experiences within the areas of Training and Education to showcase in future newsletters. Please contact me at Michele.Ribeiro@oregonstate.edu if you would like to share your experiences with our community.
We are fortunate to have two contributors, who are doctoral students completing their internship this summer at college counseling centers, share some reflections on groups during their internship year. Each was asked to write about their experiences in facilitating a group during their internship year at a college counseling center. Both raise universal issues of feeling unsure of their group therapy skills, examining aspects of themselves and specific social identities, and the confidence and competence they embraced as a result of their experiential learning, reflection, and ongoing risk taking in co-facilitating groups and communicating openly with their co-facilitators. It is in interacting with therapists like Chelsea & Shirley that enhance my excitement to mentor and train the next generation of group psychotherapists. Thank you Chelsea and Shirley for sharing your reflections.
Chelsea Twiss, MS
New Mexico State University, current PhD candidate
Doctoral Intern at Oregon State University (2017 – 2018)
My experience in co-facilitating an interpersonal process group at CAPS has been an evolving process. I am currently in my third term of co-facilitating the same interpersonal process group at CAPS. I have quite a bit of previous experience in facilitating groups in community mental health settings as well as university counseling centers, yet this was my first experience co-facilitating a group with someone who is in an evaluative role for me at the center and identifies as male (I identify as female). Initially, I noticed that I felt more anxiety about how my skills as a group facilitator would be perceived in group than I have before when co-facilitating with peers or female senior staff members.
I began the term feeling uncertain of myself and how my skills as a facilitator would be evaluated by my co-facilitator in the group. This uncertainty was enhanced by the experience of being a trainee in a new environment where I was still in the process of familiarizing myself. As time went on and I became more relaxed in my role, while still sensitive to the power dynamic in the room, and the group members seemed to notice this shift in me as well. Some of the members remarked noticing that I was participating more which seemed to be well-received particularly by female group members.
There were a few instances throughout the year where my co-facilitator and I disagreed on how something should be done in group, but initially I withheld my opinions and would usually defer to his preferences. I used supervision with my female individual supervisor to gain support on how to address this in our co-facilitator dynamic. Ultimately, I became increasingly comfortable asserting my opinions about how group should be run even if they were different from his. I also realized that when I did assert myself in our relationship, it was generally appreciated by my co-facilitator. We began to speak more openly about gender dynamics in our relationship during group supervision as well.
I would describe myself as someone who is generally comfortable and confident in my skills as a trainee and eager to learn from mistakes. So upon reflection, I am still surprised at how noticeable my initial hesitation in my role as a group co-facilitator was. In many ways it felt as though when embarking on internship I was starting fresh and would often forget the pre-existing clinical skills and experience I could bring to the table.
The most impactful things I learned from this experience around group co-facilitation at CAPS would be the extent to which power dynamics between co-facilitators and identities of co-facilitators play out in group dynamics. I recognized a great deal about myself and how I interact differently with male staff members in positions of power than I do with female staff members in positions of power. This also gave me pause to think about the impact of multiple intersecting identities and power hierarchies within institutions and how these impact experiences for those who are both newcomers to the system as well as those on the low end of the power hierarchy within a system – which interns usually are.
Finally, the hesitation and difficulty with assertion due to socialization and messaging around gender were aspects of my identity I thought I had mostly confronted and worked through when starting internship; particularly as someone who has done a fair amount of research and teaching in the area of feminism. It turns out these relational dynamics are ongoing and fluid negotiations that are complicated by so many factors and it never seems to be a “done deal.” This is a realization I hope to carry with me and continue to reflect on as I begin my career as a Counseling Psychologist.
Shirley Ley, MEd
Adler University (Vancouver Campus), current PsyD student
Doctoral Intern at Western Washington University (2017 – 2018)
If there is one important lesson I learned from my individual work with clients is the importance of meaning making, particularly after personally transformative experiences. As I approach the final few months of predoctoral internship, I’m finding the need to make sense of my call to adventure to be a co-facilitator for group therapy. I still remember my first pre-group meeting, including my nervous laughter and unusual giddiness. These reactions were an expression of my inner child who finds excitement in hands-on, experientially-oriented learning opportunities. I was not going to turn down any chance to observe, model, and learn from my highly skilled co-facilitator who carries herself with great compassion, grace, and competence.
During the first academic quarter, I approached group work from a stance that I knew best, that is from an individual therapy perspective. I saw group as therapy with 7 people, all at the same time. Needless to say, this task overwhelmed me, causing my heart to race, palms to sweat, and throat to constrict every time group rolled around. Fearful that I might appear incompetent or inadvertently harm group members, I co-facilitated the group from a distanced and detached perspective. This experience left me feeling conflicted as it countered my humanistic and relationally-oriented approach to individual work. Thankfully, my co-facilitator guided me in understanding and appreciating the power of group dynamics and therapeutic properties found within the here-and-now group process. While this insight moved me, I struggled to translate my new learning in a way that was congruent with my therapy approach.
By the time the second academic quarter approached, I coped with my learning impasse by mimicking and parroting my experienced co-facilitator’s therapeutic style. For obvious reasons, this approach left me feeling disingenuous and stifled my creativity. Seeing that I was frustrated over my lack of learning progress, my co-facilitator invited conversations concerning my multiple identities and how these inform my relational style in everyday life. Growing up as a woman of color, I was socialized to navigate the world through the eyes of others by anticipating their thoughts, feelings, and needs and acting accordingly. Although I now understand that these are normal responses to oppressive experiences, I became empowered knowing that I could use such relational abilities within the group setting.
Now in the third academic quarter of the year, I am experimenting with my sensitivity toward unexpressed and underlying relational needs. I offer assistance in fostering the safety and unconditional positive regard that is needed for vulnerable disclosure to take place. I support group members in learning to attune and listen to each other for information relating to the need to be valued, affirmed, and cared for. I offer guidance in helping group members integrate the pain and suffering of others and convey how they have been impacted and moved. I continue to learn from my co-facilitator about how and when to identify larger group processes such as pregnant silences, anguished facial reactions or body language, there-and-then conversations that detract from present moment emotional and relational contact, or superficial conversations about daily life and unsolicited advice giving that fail to connect people on a deep, meaningful manner.
I know that my road to becoming a competent and skilled group clinician will be lengthy and the challenges that I have already faced is only a glimmer of what is to come. Since my first group experience, my inner child has settled into a more thoughtful and curious presence. As I am currently in the process of securing employment opportunities beyond graduation, my future involvement with group therapy remains uncertain and my learning trajectory will largely depend on opportunities for self-study and close involvement with a group mentor and/or facilitator. At this moment in time, what does seem certain to me is my need to remain self-compassionate, as this is the only key to unlocking my openness, creativity, and flexibility, all of which are essential ingredients to effective group work.
The College Counselor’s Guide to Group Psychotherapy: A New Resource for the Practice of Group Psychotherapy in College Counseling and other Group Settings
Counseling and Psychological Services
Oregon State University
Groups in college counseling center settings have long been an effective albeit under researched modality of treatment. Most college counseling centers offer a variety of groups rangingfrom psychoeducation, to support and interpersonal process. Little research to date within college counseling settings, has captured the variety and clinical outcomes that these varying types of groups offer. Furthermore, not only do clients benefit from the modality of group, clinicians working in this setting are also given the opportunity to further their training while honing their skills as facilitators and co-facilitators.
Many doctoral students often get their first real training experience within their practicum and in the arena of college counseling centers. They then often further their development within their internship. As an example, I recently began working with a new intern at the counseling center, in which I work, who shared that his tendency was to pull for individual responses more than responses geared toward the group as a whole. This in turn influenced his behavior and resulted in him sitting back and refraining from verbally engaging in our first group. I encouraged him to take a risk, to offer a possible group intervention, like a bridging technique or posing a question to the group as a whole. By the end of our second group, this intern experienced a shift in his perspective and began intervening on a “group as a whole” level. I was impressed by how quickly he began working on a group level rather than through individually oriented interventions and by his overall shift of trust in the group process. After our group members left the room, we both looked at each other and with two thumbs up, we agreed “awesome group.” Upon processing his experience, he shared both his uncertainty regarding how group cohesiveness happens and his amazement in the manner in which the group members opened up one by one, thereby creating an interactive, trusting group.
My role is to teach this intern and all trainees, how facilitators, through their understanding of stages of group development, assist in creating norms that build a culture of trust and vulnerability. Sharing vulnerability does not automatically happen; however, through the leader’s facilitation, members begin to follow the norms being set. Another key to a group’s success, that I am interested in helping this intern and others like him understand, is that of member selection. Though we do not always know what will happen when we put someone in a group, it is the leaders’ assessment of readiness, ego strength, and matching of issues that play a role in creating the experience that we were fortunate to have in the two groups we have led thus far, this term. There are other dynamics such as our race, gender, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. that are also interfacing with our co-leader dynamics, while impacting group members and their social identities.
My hope whenever I start a new group is that my co-facilitator/trainee is able to experience what I call the “magic” of group psychotherapy. This magic of client vulnerability and connection keeps me captivated and yearning for the next term or academic year to roll around so I/we can begin group again, and again. I believe, the magic of group is particularly cultivated and supported within the setting of higher education. Although many group psychotherapy resources exist, a new book entitled The College Counselor’s Guide to Group Psychotherapy by Routledge Pressis the first of its kind that aims to capture group, as we know it in higher education and in the context of college counseling centers.
College Counseling Centers are a diverse and rich setting for the implementation of group psychotherapy. The book responds to the many layers of college counseling group work including social identity issues, the group coordinator’s role, practice-based evidence assessments, marketing, co-leadership, and facilitating groups covering support, psychoeducation, mindfulness, therapy and interpersonal process. Most if not all of the authors work, have worked and/or have consulted within the college counseling center arena with center staff on best practices. This book is a helpful guide for those who are just beginning to lead groups in college counseling centers as well as those who help coordinate these efforts. This book can also be an excellent resource for seasoned professionals. I recently provided a colleague with whom I have been working with for over 15 years, the chapter on multiculturalism and diversity in groups. She later shared the material was not only readily accessible as a teaching tool to her, but also to the interns. The writers who have authored the chapters that comprise this text, practice group psychotherapy in the field and are passionate about learning, teaching and training. Although the book’s title emphasizes groups and college counseling center settings, it can also be a useful resource for a variety of therapeutic environments that utilize group treatment. I recently shared another chapter of the book with a colleague who works within a hospital setting and has been charged with creating an effective group psychotherapy program.
This book is a resource for any therapist interested in understanding the complexity of group within settings that aim to build or maintain effective functioning of group therapy programs. If reading this short article has sparked your interest, then I encourage you to find out for yourself what the book has to offer. If you do decide to take a peek, you may find a new level of intrigue and excitement about groups in your work setting as well. For more information on the book, visit:
From Isolation to Connection: Building Community through Groups
Oregon State University
College counseling centers are a prime setting for group psychotherapy due to the germane nature of social connection within the undergraduate or graduate student experience. As a result of academic demands and an increase in social media, face to face vulnerability is limited, though no less needed or desired by students. The focus of the summit, from isolation to connection speaks to the power of groups that occurs as a result of numerous group themes that include interpersonal process, gender transitions, racial/cultural identity, and trauma empowerment and recovery, to name just a few. Although the demand for groups (support, therapy, psychoeducation) is very high, therapists are not always highly trained within college counseling centers to provide group psychotherapy as an effective modality of treatment.
The Annual Meeting of the American Group Psychotherapy Association is the model training experience for group psychotherapists. Fellow group psychotherapists, Josh Gross, PhD, ABPP, CGP, FAGPA from Florida State University, Tallahassee and Anne Slocum McEneaney, PhD, CGP, FAGPA from New York University identified a need for therapists who work within the college counseling center environment to have a professional home within this larger organization. Thus, a special interest group (SIG), College Counseling Centers and Other Educational Settings, was established around 2004. To learn more about the SIG, visit http://www.cc-sig.org/. Because these leaders, in the field of college counseling inspired growth of early career psychologists, budding group enthusiasts collaborated on an idea to create a professional development that would also contain an experiential training institute coupled with conference style break-out sessions. Hence the Group Summit was born.
The Group Summit was first established for college counseling centers to provide a unique training experience for therapists who facilitate groups in this setting. University of Pittsburgh, under the leadership of Tevya Zukor, PhD, CGP and Kevin Shephard, PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill ventured to create this unique experience in 2012. Dr. Zukor has hosted a total of four group summits, with the latest one offered at the College of Mary Washington. However; since travel from one coast to another can be costly and difficult; two group psychotherapists, Emi Sumida, PhD and Michele Ribeiro, EdD, CGP collaborated to create the first Group Summit West, to expand training for therapists on the west coast.
On October 16th & 17th 2015, Counseling and Psychological Services at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, hosted the first Group Summit West to expand group psychotherapy training in college counseling centers for the west coast. The goal of the summit was to provide an affordable yet impactful training experience to expand the knowledge and skills of group psychotherapy within the college counseling center environment. The Group Summit West hosted psychology trainees and therapists from Iowa, Arizona, southern and northern California, Washington State and Oregon, which demonstrates the need for this type of regional training. Borrowing from our predecessors, the Group Summit provided three training offerings. The first experience involved a one day training institute where therapists indulged in the experience of being a group participant. Cindy Aron Miller, LCSW, CGP, FAGPA; Sophia Aguirre, PhD, CGP & Tevya Zukor, PhD, CGP; and Carlos Taloyo, PhD provided an in-depth exploration of psychodynamics including stages of group development, attachment, belonging, envy, scapegoating and whatever else arose in the safety of the group. A second day of breakout sessions followed the first day and included group training on various topics such as grief, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and recovery as well as various identity topics including transgender and multi-racial students. A second option of the summit involved a two day principles of group psychotherapy course that met the basic educational requirements for a certification in group psychotherapy. Although twelve CEUs were an important outcome of the program, networking opportunities particularly for trainees and therapists, working in college counseling centers, seemed to be the highlight for all who attended. Interested in the next Group Therapy Summit? Consider joining Division 49’s listserv to learn more about this training and many more upcoming offerings including at next year’s Annual Convention.