Committee Reports

Treasurer’s Report

Rebecca MacNair-Semmands, Ph.D.
Rebecca MacNair-Semmands, Ph.D.

As I write my last newsletter update for the Financial Committee, I am happy to report that convention costs for 2014 came in under projected budget this year again by over $1000. Funds for advertising provided attendees the division’s programming with the hard work of Rosamond Smith (Student Representative Elect), and creative new buttons (“Keep Calm, I’m a Group Therapist”) for our nametags sparked many conversations about the society. We decided at the board meeting to increase our funding for the assistant who has been working on our social media postings with group-related visuals. We also funded the poster awards for a total of $600 and the Richard Moreland Dissertation Award, with the society contributing $500 toward that honor. We were also able to fund a reasonable Early Career breakfast and use the suite with snacks provided for other activities such as StoryCorps-type interviewing about group mentors, initiated by Dennis Kivlighan. So, thanks to Leann Diederich and her ECP clan! Special thanks also to Kathy and John Ritter, for organizing the food and beverages for the social again for their final year before the ECP committee takes on this task and potentially expands our socials programs.

As we are considering the funding implications of our potential project of creating a new journal through the division, we have been engaged in a variety of exploratory conversations. I have also been collecting information on investment options to pass along to the new Treasurer, Amy Nitza, who begins her term in January 2015.

In closing, I feel so honored to have worked these three years with such a quality group of people. The dedication and kindness of our board members has been impressive and invaluable. I will miss you all dearly, but plan to stay in touch!


Call for Nominations for President-elect and for Member-at-Large

Lee Gillis, Ph.D.
Lee Gillis, Ph.D.

Self-nominations will be considered.

From the Bylaws:
The Committee on Nominations and Elections will issue a call for nominations to all members by the appropriate deadline of the year prior to the calendar year. A validating procedure shall be used to assure that nominations are made by appropriate voting members of the board.

The Nominations and Elections Committee shall seek advice on nominations from the Board of Directors and other members of the Division currently or recently in leadership. Any eligible member recommended by the Nominating Committee, a Board Member, or receiving at least 10 or more nominations from the general membership shall appear on the ballot as a nominee after
ascertaining that the nominee is qualified and willing to serve if elected. At least two names should be placed in nomination for each office.

The President-elect shall be a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors with the right to vote and shall perform the duties traditionally assigned to a Vice-President. In the event that the
President shall not serve her/his full term for any reason, the President-elect shall succeed to the remainder thereof and continue to serve through her/his own term.

The President shall be the Member or Fellow who has just completed a term as President-elect. The President shall succeed to office on January 1 following the completion of her/his President-elect year. The President, or her/his designee from the Board, shall preside at all meetings, shall be the Chair of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors, and shall perform all other usual duties of a
presiding officer. The President shall cast a vote at meetings of the Board of Directors only when the vote would make or break a tie.

Members-at-large of the Board of shall represent the interests of the membership at large on the Board of Directors.

Please send nominations by October 31, 2014 to
Both elected members will begin service on January 1, 2016 and serve a 3 year term.


Brief Articles

Preventation Corner

Elaine Harpine, Ph.D.
Elaine Harpine, Ph.D.

This is our third column in our series on developing training programs for prevention groups. We sought advice from two experts in the field of group prevention, Robert K. Conyne, Ph.D. and Arthur M. Horne, Ph.D. who gave us excellent suggestions on designing training programs. We were also reminded in our last column that prevention program training is needed at both the university level for professionals planning to specialize and work with prevention groups and at the community or prevention group level with volunteers, health practitioners, teachers, or others who may be leading or working with prevention groups. Effective training is essential if your prevention group is to be successful.

Training seems to be on the mind of many practitioners as evidenced by the number responses that we received to our last column. The letter chosen for today highlights another problem facing prevention groups and those training prevention group practitioners.


Dear Prevention Corner:

I’ve been following the discussion on training, and I’d like to know– which training approach works best.


Just Wondering


Dear Just Wondering,

You are not the only person seeking an answer to the question: Which training approach works best? There are basically seven different training techniques being used with prevention groups. The basic training methods are: (1) a written training manual, (2) instructor-led training or lecture, (3) interactive group sessions, (4) hands-on training through apprenticeships and internships, (5) computer-based training, (6) online or web-based training, and (7) blended training approaches (using one or more methods together). Let’s take a moment to look at each method individually.

A Written Training Manual

A written training manual is probably one of the most frequently used methods for training, but a written training manual is only as effective as the person writing the manual and the person reading and interpreting the material contained in the manual. A written training manual does not answer questions from confused readers nor does it allow for interaction between the trainer and the trainee. A written training manual does not ensure clarity, and it also does not ensure that the trainee will use the material as instructed. This is a particular problem with prevention group programs. School, community-based, and federally funded organizations are frequently mandated to buy and use evidence-based programs. This sounds good. Yet, there is no way to ensure that those who purchase such evidence-based programs and read the training manuals accompanying these programs actually follow the instructions given in the manual or use the evidence-based program as intended. In such cases, the evidence-based program and those participating in the program end up with less than a satisfactory experience. A written training manual is simply not enough.

Instructor-led Training or Lecture

Most training programs utilize some form of instructor-led training. The most common approach is lecture with or without PowerPoint. The problem with instructor-led training is that it does not include interaction. Questions and answers are not classified as being effective interaction. Anyone who has ever conducted an instructor-led lecture can also testify to the number of participants who have slept through such training sessions. With today’s handheld technology, a training lecture must also compete with easy access to Internet sites and people’s ability to occupy their mind and time with something other than listening to a training lecture. Even with a very dynamic speaker, audiences absorb approximately only one-third of what is said. Clearly, relying on instructor-led training is not adequate.

Interactive Training

Interactive training involves using some form of small group discussion, case studies, or possibly a demonstration. The idea is to get the audience involved and engaged as participants in the training process from beginning to end. Interactive training can be very effective, but it is also time consuming and may restrict its use to only small groups. If you’re facing a room full of 100 people, interactive training will be very complicated.

Hands-on Training

Hands on training may involve a class that goes out and applies and evaluates what they learn, an apprenticeship where a trainee works and learns alongside an established group worker, and an internship which may include classroom instruction as well as working alongside an established group worker. Internships and apprenticeships are sometimes paid training positions as well, which may allow for longer and more in-depth training. Each of these methods of training can be very effective, but they are time-consuming and limit the number of people who can be trained at a time.

Computer-based Training

The newest trend in training is computer-based. Such training may be text only, multimedia (including videos), or virtual reality with an interactive simulation (such as a flight simulator). The most effective computer-based training programs are interactive. Interactive computer-based programs show a greater degree of comprehension of skills by trainees. Cost may be a factor, especially if your program uses interactive simulation and requires special equipment.

Online or E-Training

Web-based training is another form of computer-based training. It may consist of web-based training modules, tele-or-video conferencing (primarily uses lectures or demonstrations), audio conferencing (sound only), web meetings or webinars where trainees dial in to receive audio and/or visual instruction, online college and university classes (distance-learning), collaborative document preparation training (trainer and trainee must be linked on the same network), and email for follow-up questions and reminders. While online training can be very convenient and serve a large population, it limits the actual contact with the trainer. It also requires skills and knowledge of computer-based systems from trainees.

A Blended Training Approach

Blended training uses more than one training method. It may combine instructor led with computer-based training or interactive with hands-on training. The idea is to blend together two training methods that best meet the needs of your group. Research has shown a blended training approach to be more effective with improved training outcomes and to be more cost-efficient financially and in terms of time commitment.

The answer to your question: Which is best? A training program that involves interaction with trainees and engages the trainees in the training process is best. The method that you choose may be influenced by financial constraints, the number of trainees being trained at one time, and the time allotted for training. There is no one simple answer. The true test of training effectiveness comes when your trainees begin to work in your group prevention program. If your training program does not actually train workers to work effectively in a prevention group, it cannot be labeled a success, especially if your purpose is to train prevention group workers. Therefore, do not hesitate to take time and put forth effort in designing your group prevention training program.

We would like to continue this discussion and invite your comments and responses. Our next column will be devoted to the responses that we receive. Let us hear from you. We welcome your participation. We invite psychologists, counselors, prevention programmers, graduate students, teachers, administrators, and other mental health practitioners working with groups to network together, share ideas, problems, and become more involved. Please send comments, questions, and group prevention concerns to Elaine Clanton Harpine at


Book Review

Group Work Leadership: An Introduction for Helpers by Robert K. Conyne

Donald E. Ward Ph.D.
Donald E. Ward Ph.D.

Donald E. Ward’s Book Review of

Group Work Leadership: An Introduction for Helpers by Robert K. Conyne

On occasion, those of us who practice, teach about, and study groups come across a book that provides a fresh perspective by presenting a wealth of information that highlights and summarizes existing knowledge in a novel manner and also introduces newer topics that have not been included in traditional models but hold promise for future development of the field. One of a number of books in a series published by Sage entitled Counseling and Professional Identity in the 21st Century, Bob Conyne’s Group Work Leadership: An Introduction for Helpers, is clearly an example of this somewhat rare phenomenon.

Dr. Conyne’s credentials speak to his ability to assimilate group work theory from a variety of professional perspectives. Although he has never sought recognition and accolades, his record of scholarship and service is extraordinary. His active involvement in the Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy of the American Psychological Association, as well as in other APA divisions, in the Association for Specialists in Group Work and other divisions of the American Counseling Association, and the American Group Psychotherapy Association involved service to the profession through serving as president Division 49, president of ASGW, and Editor of the Journal for Specialists in Group Work. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the APA’s Prevention section, the Eminent Career Award by the ASGW, and he was elected fellow of three divisions in the APA (divisions of group psychology and group psychotherapy, consulting, and counseling psychology), and a fellow ASGW. These many experiences allow him to undertake the challenge of offering a book that is comprehensive in its approach to basic counseling theory and practice but practical and very reader interactive, translating complex theory and ways of understanding and applying group work into meaningful elements that beginning and experienced trainees can master and internalize. This is consistent with Dr. Conyne’s admiration for the foundational work of Kurt Lewin and the principles that good theory can be put into practice and studied and that reflective practice is central to group work learning and practice.

How is the material presented? The book contains three major sections: Section I Group Work Is a Comprehensive and Unique Approach, Section II: Critical Elements of Group Work, and Section III: Meaning, Action, and Professional Identity in Group Work. Chapter One introduces the metaphor of group work as an umbrella under which the four ASGW group types are introduced: task groups, psychoeducation groups, counseling groups, and psychotherapy groups. Beginning in this chapter and continuing throughout the book, the reader is engaged in the content with multiple case illustrations and learning exercises, an interactive learning model commonly used in modern pedagogy. The fundamental documents that have helped the group work profession to develop are presented and discussed in Chapter Two: training standards, best-practice guidelines, ethics, and multicultural principles. Dr. Conyne provides a cogent examination and discussion of the current adequacy of the CACREP Standards related to group work from drawing upon his experience as a counselor education chair and program coordinator and a CACREP board member. Chapter Three includes the core variables of helping groups to develop and to work as coordinated units to maximize outcome, group dynamics and group processes.

Leadership is introduced, defined, and discussed from a variety of perspectives in Chapter Five. Emphasizing basing leadership on best practices guidelines, Conyne stresses leadership as collaborating with members, building and maintaining a group climate, processing with members during group sessions and by leaders between sessions, and co leadership. He particularly emphasizes Yalom’s eleven therapeutic factors as the core mechanisms in the interpersonally centered approach to group psychotherapy (Yalom, 1995; Yalom & Leszcz, 2005). Unlike most introductory group work books, Conyne does not present multiple chapters covering the application of primarily individual theories of counseling and therapy to group work. The sixth chapter is pivotal in that it summarizes the traditional individual therapy approaches and also gives special attention to six transtheoretical orientations that he views as compatible with group work. A major emphasis of the author in the book is that group workers need to move toward developing actual group theoretical models to guide practice and research. He includes the potential contribution of interpersonal neurobiological theory on the frontier of future development for group workers. Chapter Seven describes functions, styles, and competencies as the building blocks of leadership. Yalom’s four leadership functions are presented, described, and represented in a number of activities to engage the reader in comprehending their meaning. Conyne then presents three approaches to leadership style: Lewin’s autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire conceptualization; the task versus interpersonal relationship (social-emotional) model; and the compendium of leadership types created by combining varying amounts of Yalom’s four leadership functions. Methods, strategies, and techniques are presented in Chapter Eight. Covering a topic at which Conyne is at his best, he summarizes and describes clinical wisdom that may be used to guide the selection of facilitative group interventions in a meaningful and understandable manner.

Reflecting on Group Work Practice is the title of Chapter Nine in which within- and between-session processing are again described and explored. Particular attention is given to Conyne’s Deep Processing Model (1999). Group worker self-care is addressed, a critical topic due to the emotional demands of the complex and intense phenomenon that is group work. Chapter Ten, Selecting Effective Interventions, provides detailed examples of the appropriate selection of interventions most applicable to sample scenarios in the four types of group work. Learning activities are again very useful to help the reader to engage with the process. Finally, a brief Epilogue is provided in which the author comments about his own perspective on the material presented in the book.

Bob Conyne brings his lifetime of teaching, studying, and practice in a variety of settings and types to this very rich and engaging description of how to understand and practice the complex and fascinating group work phenomenon. The modern formatting of cogent presentation of content with frequent and excellent case examples and learning activities help to involve the reader in the learning process. This parallels the group work process itself in which leaders work to collaborate with members to engage in the work of the group. As well as an excellent text and resource for those learning and continuing to practice, it comes alive because, as the author states, he is describing the extensive and exciting result of his having been “bit by the group work bug” nearly fifty years ago (Conyne, 2014, p.xxvii). This book is an invitation to readers to join him in the “infection” that is group work.

Conyne, R. K. (2014). Group work leadership: An introduction for helpers. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Conyne, R. (1997). A developing framework for processing experiences and events in group work. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 22, 167-174.

Yalom, I. (1995). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (1st ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books.

Yalom, I., & Leszcz, M. (2005). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed.). New York, NY: Basic Books.

Brief Articles

University-Community Group-Centered Prevention Project with At-Risk Students: Four Year Study

Anna Thompson, M.A.
Anna Thompson, M.A.

Anna Thompson, M.A.

University of South Carolina Aiken


The Reading Orienteering Club (ROC) is a university-community collaborative group-centered prevention after-school project that focuses on the reading ability and comprehension of what children are reading. This program’s concentration is on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders primarily from a southern small town, population 29,884 with an ever increasing low socio-economic community base. Reading is a vital skill necessary in order to survive and thrive in all aspects of life including school and future jobs. The students who participated in this case study experienced academic problems in reading, spelling, or comprehension. The ROC program, recorded the level of reading, spelling and sight words using a pretest and post-test. Children were evaluated as to their improvement by age: 5 to 7-years-old, 8-years-old, and 9 to 11-years-old. Participation was open, free, and self-selected by the parents, teachers, and other community after-school groups who are affiliated with the students. The 1st hypothesis was: children who begin the program at younger ages will improve more than children who begin when they are older. The 2nd hypothesis was: children who attend the program for more than one year will show greater increases from pre to post test. Overall, the three groups of children showed similar improvements in all literacy areas. Outcomes of the program were positive and provided evidence of significant improvements from pretest to post-test. Results showed that there were no significant main effects or interactions with age group. The 2nd hypothesis was not supported.

Keywords: group-centered prevention, prevention groups, after-school programs, reading failure

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 vowel clustering, the 4-step method, and group-centered prevention interventions 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 tricky words, 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 lets the children correct themselves, learn a new word, and get a better comprehension of the word. The main goals of this program are for the 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).

Torgesen believes “the ultimate goal of reading instruction is to help children acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to comprehend printed material at a level that is consistent with their general verbal ability or language comprehension skills” (2002, p. 10). At the ROC, a goal is to bring a child from reading below the appropriate reading level to reading at or above their reading level (grade). One study conducted used children from 14 elementary schools (Hatcher et al., 2006). The children were split into two groups. One group received the small group intervention for 20 weeks and the other received the intervention for only the second 10 weeks. During the first 10 weeks of the full 20 week program, students who participated in the intervention improved more than the other children who did not receive the first half of the program (Hatcher et al., 2006). On the other hand the second group who only received the small group intervention during the second set of 10 weeks, caught up to the first group. This may mean it does not matter how long the small group intervention is, but just that the children participate in the intervention. The current study looks at the amount of time spent in the program in order to see if more time spent in the program translates into more improvement. It also looks at whether or not early intervention helps improve test scores. Targeted skills include taking turns and sharing, building self-efficacy, working together, and motivation (Clanton Harpine, 2013). A child’s self-efficacy is their belief that they can succeed.

Motivation Component

Motivation is defined as the inner power that makes people do what they do” (Clanton Harpine, 2013). The key to motivation is that it is something that cannot be forced onto a person, particularly a child. Motivation comes from different experiences and the affect that each experience has on the internal mindset of the child. There are both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Extrinsic motivation comes from quick automatic rewards such as ice cream after completing homework or a particular amount of money for every A on a report card. The ROC does not reward students by using extrinsic motivation, but focuses instead on intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is motivation that does not come from receiving a prize after completion but the motivation to complete the task because of the enjoyment and interest in the task at hand. “Intrinsic motivation can help children rebuild their self-efficacy, change their approach to learning, and consequently, change their behavior” (Clanton Harpine, 2008, p. 20).

The creator of the ROC has discovered several items that help a group-centered program like the ROC, build children’s motivation, particularly intrinsic motivation. These according to Ryan and Deci, include: “positive self-efficacy, efficacy expectations, outcome expectations, choice, competence-affirming feedback, and self-determination” (Clanton Harpine, 2013, p. 56). Children are encouraged to continue learning when not only the parents see improvement and give praise, but also when the children themselves see an improvement in the struggling area. The ROC is a program that allows children of different ages to work together as a team and not be judged based on their lower reading skills. Each child has areas that may need improvement. They are able to receive the extra encouragement, helping to increase their intrinsic motivation.

A study conducted by Gottfried, Fleming, & Gottfried (1994) discovered, using a longitudinal study of 9 and 10 year-olds, that the intrinsic motivation practices of the group of 9 year-olds influenced an increase in academic level when they turned 10. The study looked at verbal and math skills. The predications of the experimenters were “children’s academic intrinsic motivation … [would be] positively related to encouragement of task endogeny and negatively related to provision of task-extrinsic consequences” (Gottfried, Fleming, & Gottfried, 1994, p. 104). The results of this study supported these predications in showing the importance of internal motivation in academic success.

The current study looked at the impact of the amount of time spent in the ROC program and the compared literacy scores of 46 children. These 46 children were grouped by age: 5 to 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds, and 9 to 11-year-olds. The hypothesis was that the longer children continued in the ROC program, the more their literacy scores would increase. Another hypothesis of this study was, the early starting ages of children completing the ROC program would result in an increase of later scores. In this study, Literacy includes reading, spelling, and comprehension. Literacy is important especially as a child due to the influence it has on later life experiences including jobs, secondary education, and day to day activities. All of these experiences involve literacy. Spelling is the skill of putting letter sounds together correctly to form a word and reading is the skill of decoding these letter sounds to read written or printed material aloud (Clanton Harpine, 2013). Comprehension is the ability to understand what is being read and use what is read to: elaborate on material, continue with stories, apply it to today’s world, and complete activities based on reading material (Clanton Harpine, 2013).

This study tested the hypothesis that the early starting ages of children completing the ROC program would result in an increase of later scores. This hypothesis was created due to Lyon’s idea that “if children are not provided early and consistent experiences that are explicitly designed to foster vocabulary development, background knowledge, the ability to detect and comprehend relationships among verbal concepts, and the ability to actively employ strategies to ensure understanding and retention of material, reading failure will occur no matter how robust word recognition skills are” (1998, p. 10). Keller & Just showed that the white matter of the brain can change over time, even though it takes more time and is harder with age (Keller & Just, 2009). They tested 62 children with ages ranging from 8-years-old to 12-years-old. Attitude, motivation, and stigmatization of failure play a major role in change with these older children which can cause for change to be more difficult. The second alternative hypothesis of this study was, the longer children continue in the ROC program, the more their literacy scores would increase.



The participants of this study included 46 children who received no compensation or coercion in participating. There were 25 male participants and 21 female participants. Eighteen participants were ages 5 to 7-years-old. Eleven of the participants were 8-years-old. Seventeen of the participants’ ages ranged from 9-years-old to 11-years-old. All the participants were enrolled in the Aiken County school system. Starting ages ranged from 5 years old to 11 years old. Sixteen participants were Caucasian, 28 participants were African American and three were of mixed descent.

Materials and Procedure

In order to correctly test the reading level of each child, the children all completed the same test. The skills were assessed using the Howard Street Tutoring Manual, 2nd ed. (2005) by Darrell Morris. The test data on reliability and validity of test was also completed by Morris (Morris, Shaw, & Perney, 1990; Morris, Tyner, & Perney, 2000). The 46 children were first tested before the program begins in the fall to get a starting level. Then the children were tested using the same test in the winter as a mid-point test to see any improvement made and any areas that may need more help. Lastly, the 46 children were tested in the spring at the completion of the program for that year to see how far they improved. Fourteen of the children who completed the ROC program continued for an additional year and were tested before the start of the school new year and again for mid-point testing. Two of the children continued for an additional third year and received the same testing. Testing effects have been evaluated previously in order that the children are not scoring better on the later tests just because they have already completed the test. There was no testing effect discovered.

Each child was given the same test during the beginning, middle, and end of the ROC program. The test consisted of reading, spelling, comprehension, and sight word sections. Each section was then split into three more sections, which corresponded to 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade levels. Scores were organized by reading level and the amount missed, spelling level and the amount missed, sight word level and the amount missed, and the comprehension scores which consisted of the amount missed by the participants. Levels 1, 2, 3 represents before 1st grade. Level 4 represents 1st grade, 5 represents 2nd grade, 6 represents 3rd grade, and 7 represents 4th grade.


This study is a quasi-experimental study. The dependent variable is the scores for each of the literacy areas. The two independent variables for hypothesis 1 are ages of the children and the time of measurement. The independent variable for hypothesis 2 is the amount of time in the program. This study has a mixed design with the independent variable of, time of measurement, and the age and gender of the between-subject variable. Three different age groups include: 5 to 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds, and 9 to 11-year-olds. The 46 children who completed the Reading Orienteering Club (ROC) fall under one of these categories of ages. Eighteen of these children started at the age of 5 to 7-years-old, 11 of these children were 8-years-old, and 17 of these children started at the ages of 9 to 11-years-old.


The first hypothesis was tested using a repeated measures ANOVA. It was 3 (Ages) x 3 (pre, mid, post) using mixed design. Overall, the three groups of children; aged 5 to 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds, and 9 to 11-year-olds showed similar improvements in all literacy areas. The results showed boys and girls improved from pretest to midtests, but not much improvement from mid-test to posttest, no matter their ages, for the level of spelling. Thirty-five percent of the variations in spelling scores were explained by the ages of the participants. There was a significant main effect for age based on spelling, F(2, 4) = 6.93, p = .002. There was also a significant main effect for age based on reading, F(2, 4) = 19.87, p = .000. Overall from midpoint testing to post testing all participants improved; from pretest to posttest, the younger age groups improved. This supports the hypothesis for younger children improving more than the older children, due to a main effect for time based on the age groups, F(4,4), p = .033. Looking at the data generally, everyone still improved. A significant main effect was sight words, F(2, 4) = 9.06, p = .000. From the mid-tests to post-test, the younger children showed improvement. This also supports the hypothesis: the early starting ages of children completing the ROC program would result in an increase of later scores. The last significant main effect was found for comprehension, F(2, 4) = .64, p = .000. From pretest to post-test, all groups improved. The stigmatization of failure, mentioned earlier, may also be part of the reason for not receiving stronger change with the older students.

A second aspect of this study also involved the 46 children. These 46 children represent three years of participation. Thirty children finished the ROC program in one year. Fourteen children took 2 years to complete the program and two of the participants took 3 years to complete. Participants who took 2 years and 3 years to complete the program were put into one group, which was compared to the children who were able to complete the program in 1 year. There was a significant main effect for the amount of time spent in the program based on spelling, F(2, 2) = 5.96, p = .004. Participants improved as much the second years, as they did the first year. Unfortunately, there was not a significant main effect for reading, F(2, 2) = 2.07, p = .133. Everyone did show signs of improvement. A significant main effect was found for comprehension comparing time and years, F(2, 2) = 0.17, p = .007. The children who completed the ROC program in 1 year improved more from midpoint test to post-test. Overall, children who completed the program in 1 year did better than children who took a longer period of time. Lastly there was not a significant main effect was sight words, F(2, 2) = 1.73, p = .184. Participants did still improve overall.


There was not much support for the hypothesis that staying in the program for a longer length of time, increased test scores. The only set of scores that showed significance for this hypothesis was the reading comprehension scores that showed one group improving more from mid-test to post-test. In this instance the group of children who showed significant improvement above the rest was the participants who completed the program in one year.

There are many reasons for the hypothesis to not be supported. One reason for the hypothesis to not be supported involves the nature of the second and third year children. The case may be that the children who have to continue on for another year or 2 have more serious learning problems, which would take more work and time, than the children who finished the program in one year. The analysis itself may also cause for no significance to be reported. Age was reported as a covariate which is a statistical way to look at a comparison group that is not reported. This compares the current data to an above and beyond natural group. The data was briefly analyzed without using age as a covariate, but was not used due to the lack of a real comparison group. Overall, the ROC program has shown improving scores of participants. The concept behind the ROC program is to help all children learn how to read in order to better their lives now and in the future.


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

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

Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2014). Retrieved from

Gottfried, A., Fleming, J. S., & Gottfried, A. W. (1994). Role of parental motivational practices in children’s academic intrinsic motivation and achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86(1), 104-113. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.86.1.104

Hatcher, P. J., Hulme, C., Miles, J. V., Carroll, J. M., Hatcher, J., Gibbs, S., & … Snowling, M. J. (2006). Efficacy of small group reading intervention for beginning readers with reading-delay: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(8), 820-827. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01559.x

Keller, T. A., & Just, M. A. (2009). Altering cortical connectivity: Remediation-induced changes in the white matter of poor readers. Neuron, 64, 624-631. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2009.10.018

Lyon, G. R. (1998, April 28). Overview of reading and literacy initiatives. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from

Morris, D., Shaw, B., & Perney, J. (1990). Helping low readers in grades 2 and 3: An after-school volunteer tutoring program. The Elementary School Journal, 91(2), 133-150. doi:10.1086/461642

Morris, D., Tyner, B., & Perney, J. (2000). Early Steps: Replicating the effects of a first-grade reading intervention program. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(4), 681-693. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.92.4.681

South Carolina State Department of Education. (2014). Retrieved from

Torgesen, J. K. (2002). The prevention of reading difficulties. Journal of School Psychology, 40(1), 7–26.

Committee Reports

Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Column

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

Diversity Committee Activities in 2014
Jeanne Bulgin Steffen, Ph.D.

Awarding of the 2014 Diversity Award, summary of the diversity committee symposium at APA, and recruiting new members

The Diversity Committee, founded as a subcommittee under the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy in 2007, was created with the overarching goal of promoting the inclusion and visibility of underrepresented populations in the Division. In this column, I would like to focus on summarizing our major activities for 2014. I would also like to focus on some of our goals for next year, including recruiting new members and asking for nominations for the 2015 Diversity Award.

One of the major activities of our committee is to formally honor those individuals who have made significant contributions to group psychology practice, research, service, and/or mentoring, with a focus on promoting understanding and respect for diversity. Each year we encourage nominations from the Division for the Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Award, which is presented at the Annual APA Convention. Dr. Janice Delucia-Waack was recognized as the 2014 recipient of this award at the business meeting of Division 49 in Washington D.C. in August. Dr. Delucia-Waack has shown an impressive commitment to both group work and issues related to diversity and multiculturalism. For instance, she has published The practice of multicultural group work: Visions and perspectives from the field (2004), and has recently co-authored a chapter on diversity in group work in the Oxford Handbook of Group Counseling (2011). She has also written the introduction to the section on multicultural group work in the Handbook of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy (2004, 2014), as well as authored and co-authored book chapters on “cultural biographies” (2009) and multicultural competencies in group work (1996). Dr. Delucia-Waack has published numerous articles on issues related to diversity, both in group work, and in other clinical and educational settings. Topics covered in such articles have included research with Latino adolescents and articles on gender and gender role identity, homophobia, and social justice. Dr. Delucia-Waak is a Fellow of Division 49 (and ASGW and ACA), and has served on the editorial board of Group Dynamics and many other important journals in the fields of education and counseling. She has also served as editor of the Journal for Specialists in Group Work for six years (1995-2001). Taken together, Dr. Delucia-Waak’s professional accomplishments in the area of multicultural group work make her clearly deserving of recognition from the Division 49 Diversity Committee. Congratulations, Dr. Delucia-Waack, and thank you for your contributions to the field!

At the APA convention this year, the Diversity Committee engaged in providing an educational program to increase diversity related conversations among our colleagues. This program was a symposium chaired by Dr. Eric Chen entitled Evidence-Based Practice and Multicultural Competencies in Group Therapy: Multiple Perspectives. The goal of the symposium was to highlight the complex intersection between evidence-based practice and multicultural competence perspectives within the group therapy context from the perspectives of researcher, educator, trainee, and practitioner. The contributors of the symposium presented papers covering four topics, which included: (a) “Bridging the Gap between Evidence-Based Practice and Multicultural Competencies Research” presented by Elena E. Kim, co-contributors/co-authors Leia A. Ting and Eric C. Chen; (b) “Teaching Group Therapy: The Intersection of EBP and Multicultural Competencies” presented by Joseph R. Miles, co-contributor/co-author Jill D. Paquin; (c) “Trainees’ Perspective on Becoming Local Clinical Scientists in Group Therapy” presented by Andrea S. Pratt, co-contributors/co-authors Aaron Lauber and Eric C. Chen; and (d) “Evidence-Based Practice and Multicultural Competencies: Group Therapists’ Perspectives” presented by Jennifer Alonso. We had a very positive turn out as the number of people attending the symposium presentation more than doubled at APA this year, with over 60 individuals in attendance.

As the chair of the Diversity Committee, I have a special opportunity to reach out the Division 49 members and spark interest in diversity related topics through this column. In this issue, I am also hoping to spark interest regarding recruiting new members to the committee and regarding inviting members to nominate deserving colleagues for the 2015 Division for the Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Award. The first order of business for the committee each year is recruiting new members. Last March, we welcomed three new student members to the group, including Brittany White, Joel Miller, and Jennilee Fuertes. As the new year approaches yet again, we return to recruiting activities and I ask those who are interested in joining us to please contact me. In addition, I ask you to please notice those colleagues around you who are working to engage others, who are writing, mentoring, teaching and researching multicultural issues in group work and making contributions to group psychology practice, with a focus on promoting understanding and respect for diversity. Their work honors us and we would like to honor them. Please contact me to put forth their names so we can acknowledge them in 2015.

Along with new members and diversity award nominations, I welcome comments, concerns and requests for topics for future columns. My contact information is:



Journal for Group Practitioners

Joe Powers Ph.D.
Joe Powers Ph.D.

Division 49 Proposing New Journal for “Group Practitioners”

A proposal for a second journal for Division 49, Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy, was presented at the Board’s August meeting in Washington, D.C. Based on survey results conducted earlier in the year among Division 49 members and the discussion at the Board meeting, there was strong support for a second journal. Discussion highlighted the preeminence of “Group Dynamics” as the esteemed journal of Division 49 but a second journal, focused more upon group work practice, would address an important need in our field. The immediate task at hand, then, is to complete the proposal, present it to the Board in January 2015 and then submit the proposal to an interested publisher. Due diligence requires processing several important details to ensure a successful outcome. We welcome questions and suggestions, so please contact the proposal committee chair or committee members.

  • Joe Powers, Ad Hoc Committee Chair
  • Dennis Kivlighan
  • Rebecca MacNair-Semands
  • Thomas Treadwell
  • Nina Brown
  • Maria Riva
  • Sally Barlow
  • David Marcus
  • Jill Paquin
  • Craig Parks

Presidents Column

Lee Gillis, Ph.D.
Lee Gillis, Ph.D.

It is so great to be part of a good group.  That describes our Society – a functioning group.  This year’s convention demonstrated how well we function from the work of Drs Jill Paquin and Joe Miles in crafting an excellent program that attracted multiple APA attendees to hear papers, experience skill sessions and observe well crafted posters.  We ended the convention with one of our signature institution, our annual social event hosted by Kathy and John Ritter.  We are so thankful for their service to the Society and hosting all these years.

Your Board has been a functioning group too.  We have not been afraid to debate issues important to members – to gather data – to make recommendations and to explore ways to invest our resources in ways that will benefit the Society in the long run.

Below I have highlighted the initiatives of my presidential year with an update on progress.  None of these initiatives could have been accomplished without the involvement of your Board members as well as committee chairs and their respective members.

Theme Connecting to the group experience
Initiatives for 2014 November 14 Update
Face of society
  • Embrace and utilize social networking connections to promote our publications, website and increase our visibility within APA and beyond
  • With Board approval and exceptional leadership of Secretary Dr. Jen Alonso, Social networking on Face book, Google+, and Linked In has increased astronomically
  • Connect the people who publish in the Journal with those who present at the Convention and write for the Newsletter – be relevant to both psychology and psychotherapy.
  • Promote ECPs everywhere throughout the Division.
  • Help undergraduates connect to group psychology & group psychotherapy graduate programs
  • In progress as we consider proposals from two groups on who will publish Group Dynamics for the next ten years.  Ongoing discussions on the need for and the feasibility of a second journal focused on group practice
  • Have appointed ECPs to APA committees where possible: Dr. Paquin to Committee on Women in Psychology and Dr. Diederich as liaison to the Board of Professional Affairs
  • Finding ways to communicate to undergraduate psychology majors and those who teach them on opportunities for studying and practicing group psychology and group psychotherapy.
Member benefits
  • Google+ Hangouts, Face book Group, Topic based phone discussions, Newsletter, Journal, APA Communities – places to share idea and connect with like-minded professionals.
  • Successes attributed to Secretary Dr. Alonso, TGP editor Dr. Treadwell, Membership Director Dr. Diederich, and Program Chairs Dr. Paquin & Dr. Miles
  • Recognition of Board members for outstanding service
  • Ensure that Policy manual is an accurate representation of what we do and when we do it; and that the manual is connected to the Bylaws.
  • In progress needing support from all board members
  • Making more connections among Divisions within APA; Being involved on APA committees that matter to our members.
  • Success attributed to Program chairs Drs Palquin and Miles as well as Drs Diederich and Paquin


In my Presidential address I discussed how APA Undergraduate Guidelines  offer learning objectives that focus on teamwork.  I issued a call for all of us to help those who teach undergraduates understand the need for helping groups establish norms and boundaries of acceptable behavior.  We are the experts here and have much to offer our colleagues who might not understand the power of a small group experience.  We know that power can be very positive in a well functioning group and destructive when a group falls into negative behaviors.  Too often I hear from my student’s horror stories of group experiences run amuck.  Many of these bad experiences could have been avoided had the professors set up some basic guidelines for operating in a group.  Help your colleagues understand how effective groups can be.

In the discussion following the address, many shared how other majors and programs outside of psychology were seeking group classes for their students.  We heard examples of pharmacy students, information technology students, engineering students, and medical students all in need of learning what many of us teach – good group skills.  Look for opportunities in your circles of influence to offer group skills where needed.

Graduate training in group psychology and psychotherapy seems to be waning and this is a sad state of affairs.  Many of us know that group is not mentioned in APA’s Guidelines And Principles For Accreditation Of Programs In Professional Psychology.  We know what is not required is often not taught.  I urge members to work towards including group as an area of training for all professional psychologists.  We hear too often that doctoral students graduate with very little group training but are expected to conduct group sessions in their post-doctoral employment.  From the survey of Directors of Training, we know that group training is not emphasized to the same extent as individual.

We must rally our voices and support group training.  To that end, I want to applaud Dr. Nina Brown for her work on having Group recognized as a specialty.  We encourage and support Dr. Brown and the cross association team she has engaged to carry on with this important work.

Finally to the wonderful Board and supporting cast that I have had the pleasure of working with – I am truly grateful.  Drs Maria Riva, Dennis Kivlighan, Rebecca MacNair-Semands, Jennifer Alonso, Leanne Diederich, Rex Stockton, Joe Powers, and John Dagley – Thank you!  To Tom Treadwell, David Marcus, Cheri Marmaroush, Eric Chen, Jeanne Steffen, Jill Paquin, and Joe Miles – the Society could not have done this without you.

Thank you for a year I will not forget.  I pass the gavel in confidence to Dennis Kivlighan who has some grand plans.


Group Psychotherapy Column: Experiential and Didactic Group Therapy Program: The Sad Lady’s Group

John Breeskin, Ph.D.
John Breeskin, Ph.D.

Negativity as a Group Dynamic

John Breeskin, Ph.D.

It would be totally naïve for a beginning group therapist to think, for a moment, that a group of people who are motivated to interact positively with other group members would be free from the effects of negativity toward other group members. The sources of this negativity, in my theoretical framework, are at least two:

1. The component contributed by the client’s overt behavior such as withdrawal, pressured speech, sporadic attendance, diva demands for attention, obvious negativity and resistance. These should be addressed as legitimate group dynamics in terms of the desire to grow counterbalanced by the desire to remain the same and there are various group therapy techniques to turn the spotlight on such behavior. (Switching roles and being the other person would be an example of one of these techniques.)

2. The 2nd contributing components to this negativity comes directly from family of origin dynamics where people are replicating, in living Technicolor, old sibling rivalries, residues of unresolved conflict with parents, dysfunctional family symptomology or even unresolved issues dealing with pain and loss. This is axiomatic and no interpersonal interaction can ever be thought of as free from these dynamics and I state this point over and over again in the ongoing life of the group.

It should be quite obvious that 2 different sets of strategies are appropriate for each of these situations outlined above.

Regardless of what condition we are addressing, however, there are important communalities for the therapist to have readily available.

When I am faced with these problematic behaviors, I mark the event in my memory, reject a response from my reptilian brain and carefully think about how I’m going to reply to the negativity in the session next week. If I am judicious in my response time I am allowing for a perhaps a wondrous event to occur. The client, himself or herself, can come back the next week and actually apologize for his/her behavior and my challenge is to allow space for this possibility.

If this providential event does not occur, then I will access Plan B. which deals with my individualized response to the client’s behavior without blaming or shaming the client, but, instead, discussing and owning my feelings as to the event that just happened. This style of intervention is offered as a role model for the group members to emulate and some of them pick it up very quickly.

The theoretical model outlined above stems directly from Attachment Theory, called in oldspeak , conflict resolution, psychoanalytic hydraulic pressure from sexuality, faulty conditioning by the behavioral- cognitive therapists, genetic predisposition from the biology folks, or the Existential belief in the absurd.

I hope it is clear that I favor the last cited theoretical approach.

My approach in writing this note is to be clearly engaged in creative mischief. Please favor me with your thoughtful replies in that spirit.


From Your Editors

From Your Editors the Group Psychologist –

It was nice seeing many of you at the APA Annual Convention. Generally, we had an extremely successful gathering and a great deal of work was accomplished.

In this issue, you can read about the following:

  • President Lee Gillis has focused his presidential term on helping undergraduates connect to both group psychology and group psychotherapy graduate programs. Lee developed a team of students and Early Career Psychologists (ECPs) who constructed a survey of graduate programs to ascertain the depth and breadth of their graduate studies in-group. Preliminary results are reported in this issue.
  • Lee is also focusing on group specialists to help those who teach undergraduates understand the need for helping groups establish norms and boundaries of acceptable behavior. He underscores that WE are the experts and have much to offer our colleagues who might not understand the power of a small group experience.
  • President Elect Dennis Kivlighan Jr. plans to focus on connecting and furthering the group experience asking Society members to video tape conversations about groups and about the Society. He urges members to consider participating in the GroupVoices project to record an interview for our archives. Additionally, He is going to ask Division 49 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.

This issue of The Group Psychologist is our 3rd newsletter (Vol. 24, No. 3) delivered as an electronic edition promoting a navigational format allowing members to traverse the pages quickly. We believe this is an excellent way to offer expanded content in an electronic format to our membership beyond the content on the Division website we have not heard back from membership. Yet we are curious as to how our members have received the new version. We are entertaining the idea of sending a quick survey to members to gain feedback to assist us in developing a reader friendly newsletter.

This issue has links to individual articles, tabs across top of pages (for current issue, past issues, guidelines for authors, link to website, about TGP/the Division, how to join the division, and a link to Facebook ). If you like one of the articles you read, 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, Leann, Letitia, and Noranne at, as can Letters to the Editor. We encourage your feedback regarding this electronic format and want you to share your thoughts with us.

Tom Treadwell, Ed.D., T.E.P, C.G.P.

Leann Terry Diederich, Ph.D.
Associate Editor