It was a pleasure to see many of you at the August 2015 Convention in Toronto. I had the privilege of attending board meetings for the Division, including meeting with the APA Publications team about ways to continue to promote the division through our journal and social media sites. Please visit this link to review the minutes from our Board meeting. We learned that the APA MyCommunities website, which we had be utilizing to store documents for the Division, would be closing. We have since moved the documents (e.g. former board meeting minutes, bylaws, policy manual, summaries of ECP hosted conference calls) to DropBox. Our hope in having an electronic place for all Division related materials is to increase transparency among members about how decisions are made and how we are advocating on your behalf. We also always welcome ideas and suggestions for ways the Division can support your needs as a Group Psychologist more effectively. In addition, having a centralized place to store materials allows incoming board to become familiarized with procedures and documents more quickly, and prevents us from losing historical documents previously kept by individual members or in non-electronic forms. Lastly, this assist current board members in having quick access to be able to review what has transpired in the past and remember the historical context of decisions. If you would like access to any of the materials, please contact me and I would be happy to share the information with you.
We had a wonderfully successful 2015 APA convention in Toronto, thanks in large parts to our convention program team: Drs. Joe Miles, Jill Paquin and Norah Chapman. Also special thanks to Dr. Leann Diederich who put together a wonderful presidential reception taking over from our longtime hosts Dr. Kathy and John Ritter. My personal highlights from the convention were Dr. Zipora Shechtman’s Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year address, Dr. Molyn Leszcz’s invited address and our first ever Fellows addresses given by Drs. Rex Stockton, Andy Horne and Don Forsythe.
For those of you who missed my presidential address (with apologies to those who already heard it) I want to summarize some of the points I made in my address: Are We the Division of Group Psychology AND Group Psychotherapy or the Division of Group Psychology OR Group Psychotherapy? One way to begin to answer this question is to look at some of the statistics about the division.
Who are we? Seventy-two percent of the members of Division 49 are health service providers, therefore the division membership skews toward Group Psychotherapy. With the current round of Fellowship elections, Division 49 has 70 Fellows with, 82% of these fellows being primarily identified with Group Psychotherapy. So again the Fellows skew toward the Group Psychotherapy. The division has elected 26 presidents through 2017, of these 88% are identified with Group Psychotherapy. Again a tilt toward the Group Psychotherapy aspect of the division.
Who do we recognize? The division has 23 Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year awardees, of these 74% represent the Group Psychology aspect of the division. Therefore, our lifetime achievement award mirrors the membership proportion of the division and can be consider as perhaps balanced between the Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy aspects of the division. Finally, there have been 22 Moreland Dissertation award winners and 100% of these represent Group Psychology.
So: Are we the Division of Group Psychology AND Group Psychotherapy or are we the Division of Group Psychology OR Group Psychotherapy? I think that we have work to do to make sure that we are the Division of Group Psychology AND Group Psychotherapy. This is important work because our strength, as a Society is the integration of basic and applied understandings of group. In my opinion this integration has to start with the leadership of the Society. Therefore, I think we need to explore new ways of constituting our Society leadership. For example, Division 29 (Psychotherapy) has several domains (Social Justice & Public Policy, Science & Scholarship, Professional Practice, Professional Practice, Membership, Education & Training, Early Career and Diversity) and board members are elected to represent these different domains. Using domains, Division 29 assures that various interests will be represented at the table. We may want to consider a similar arrangements to make sure that specific interests are represented in Division 49’s Board.
It was nice seeing many of you at the APA Annual Convention. We had an extremely successful gathering and a great deal of work was accomplished. We were especially pleased to learn of the Society’s commitment to providing awards in a number of different areas. This is based on the success of the Division 49 Foundation and numerous leaders who worked dedicatedly over the years. You can read more about this in Dr. Keim’s article in this issue.
In addition to the awards that the Foundation will offering (including a Group Psychology Award and a travel award for professional development), the Board also committed to funding awards recognizing excellence in teaching group dynamics, outstanding departmental training in group, and outstanding commitment to the practice of group psychotherapy.
In this issue, you can read about the following:
- A more detailed analysis of what group training opportunities are available in graduate programs. Erin Crozier and Samuel Collier further analyzed the data from the survey reported in an earlier TGP article (http://div49tgp.com/2014/10/30/group-training-survey-may-2014/).
- We also hear from President Kivlighan, who asks, “Are we the Division of Group Psychology AND Group Psychotherapy or are we the Division of Group Psychology OR Group Psychotherapy? I think that we have work to do to make sure that we are the Division of Group Psychology AND Group Psychotherapy.” We think this is an especially important conversation, so we encourage you to check out his column.
- In the column from President-elect Parks, he quotes Steve Wozniak: “I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone. Not on a committee. Not on a team.” There are thus some tasks that can be completed just fine by a single, motivated person. We don’t need groups to do everything. In his last column he talked about an interest in offering workshops on group-related phenomena. His focus seems to lean toward talking with the health and business and education practitioners about the many situations for which we know, empirically, that collective effort is preferable to individual effort. We are glad these varying perspectives can all be housed within our Society.
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, Letitia, and Leann at email@example.com, as can Letters to the Editor.
This year we recognized Dr. Chun-Chung Choi as our Diversity Award recipient. Dr. Choi was nominated by his colleagues for making significant contributions to both scholarship and practice, resulting in the advancement of diversity issues, particularly in the realm of group counseling and advocacy for international students. Some of his many contributions in this area include: creating innovative group programming for International Students at the University of Florida, which evolved into a specialty training program for Counseling and Wellness Center psychology interns; creating two groups that run each semester and that address limited campus resources related to supporting Mandarin speaking International Students; and providing supervision, training, and mentorship to interns in order to assist them in increasing their multicultural competency related to working with diverse populations in group therapy. Dr. Chung has also taught group counseling courses and has published five peer reviewed articles, two book chapters, and a film production aimed at empathy training for ethnic and cultural awareness. In addition he has presented over 49 refereed national publications (including two Division 49 sponsored symposiums at APA in 2014 related to multiculturalism in groups), one international, nine regional, and numerous local presentations. Dr. Choi’s professional contributions in the area of multicultural group counseling and psychotherapy practice, research, service, and training clearly add to our profession and promote further understanding and clinical effectiveness in working with diverse populations. Thank you, Dr. Choi, for your contributions to our profession and to our communities!
New Award: Teaching of Group Dynamics Award
This award is granted to a teaching professional (post-graduate) who has demonstrated excellence in the area of the teaching of the psychology of group or group psychotherapy at the undergraduate or graduate level. We are looking for individuals who have developed and implemented a particularly innovative and/or effective teaching approach related to the teaching of group dynamics. All who are members of Division 49 (or whose application for membership is currently pending) are eligible. Nominations may come from self or others. The award will be presented at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association. A $1,000.00 cash award and plaque will be presented to the award winner. The awardee will also have a chance to present her or his work related to teaching group dynamics to a national audience. Applicants are encouraged to submit the following materials on order to be considered for this award:
- Written description (no more than 2 pages) of a specific exercise, assignment, or teaching strategy that highlights your qualifications for this award
- Evidence of teaching effectiveness (e.g. informal and/or formal teaching evaluations; other data gathered from students; peer evaluations, etc.) (maximum 5 pages)
- Copy of current CV
- A letter from a psychologist (or other qualified colleague) who can speak to the qualifications of the nominee in light of the award criteria
- Cover sheet that includes:
- Nominee’s name, address, telephone number and email address.
- Name and type of teaching institution (e.g., doctoral program, master’s program, 4-year college) and discipline (e.g. counseling psychology, social psychology, clinical psychology, etc.)
- Nominator’s name, address, telephone number and email address.
- Name and address of who should be informed if the nominee wins the Group Dynamics Teaching Award (e.g., department head, supervisor, etc.)
- All materials should be submitted via a zipped/compressed folder in one email with the following subject line: [Candidate’s First and Last Name] – Application for Group Dynamics Teaching Award.
All submissions must be received by Feb. 15, 2016 to be considered. Send to: Dr. Robert Gleave at Robert_Gleave@byu.edu.
I am really quite a mellow person, however, when something raises my ire, I react very strongly. This column will illustrate this phenomenon all too well.
I wish to discuss two recent articles, one in the Wall Street Journal and the other similar one in a publication by the American Group Psychotherapy Association. (Of which I am a card-carrying member.) The unhappy title from the Wall Street Journal is, “No Joke: Group Therapy Offers Savings in Numbers.”
The first article is not difficult to read or to understand, as it takes a simplistic view of group therapy as a treatment modality. I have no trouble with this idea; however, the rationale offered is that group therapy is cost-effective, and that should be its selling point. To use cost-effectiveness in this manner is not only misinformed, it is ultimately ridiculous.
Group therapy has inherent benefits, and doesn’t need to be judged on a dollars and cents basis. To make my point, I want to discuss the Great Bed of Ware. There was a tavern, during medieval times, on a main road out of London, where weary travelers could put up for the night. The bed itself was approximately 10′ x 10′ and was covered with a green fabric. It looked like a gigantic putting green. As mud spattered travelers came off the road they were chucked on the outer periphery of the bed with their feet in the middle, while still wearing their boots. There was always room for one more. The warmth of the bodies in the bed was substantial and kept out the chill night air. In addition, people woke up next to one another and shared a common experience. This is my concept of group therapy. We gain warmth, support and belonging as basic human needs.
The article goes on to suggest that the reluctance to consider group therapy as a treatment model is due, in part, to the idea that mental illness is infectious and the feeling that if a therapist’s attention is directed toward another group member, there will be less available to the others. This is a deadly example of the scarcity model. In fact, behavior of one individual and group is a learning laboratory for all of the others. It is an enhancement model. The metaphor here is” Stone Soup.”
The article goes on to say that an inherent problem in groups is to find sufficient clients. This is nonsense: I have run as many as six groups a week with unbelievable attendance. In fact, one men’s group of mine did not have an absent group member for 17 straight weeks. This should go in the Guinness Book of Records.
I consider individual therapy to represent a model of the world which is unhelpful. The idea that one person is there for other person’s benefit suggests that individual therapy is like a hothouse orchid, which can only flourish in an artificial environment. The fact that group therapy powerfully reflects the family of origin is an obvious point. Needs are met, through negotiation, in the marketplace: this is a realistic view of life.
The idea that certain diagnostic categories do not belong in group is erroneous as long as the “Noah’s Ark Rule” is kept firmly in place. (No more than two schizophrenics, no more than two borderlines or no more than two depressives or the group can become symptom driven.) In fact, the idea of more than two depressives in a group is quite depressing.
The idea that a therapist has less power in groups than he or she has an individual therapy just isn’t true since the group leader’s task is to develop indigenous leaders, which, in time, will replace him or her in the center of the group. All is not lost in this article, however, since the final quote is:” By the group we are wounded, and by the group we are healed.”
The second article from the AGPA itself, unfortunately, mimics the first article with the same tired economic rationale but has errors all its own. The statement that children, adolescents and adults can all successfully participate in groups is just plain false. There are specific exclusionary criteria, which flat-out contradict this conclusion.
I hope the reader of these articles will become aware of the inherent value of group therapy as a treatment modality and not get caught up in an economic value argument.
Helliker, K. (2009). No joke: group therapy offers savings in numbers. The Wall Street Journal, D1. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123785686766020551.html
American Group Psychotherapy Association. (2009). Group psychotherapy emerges as a cost-effective and highly beneficial mental health treatment in challenging economic times [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.agpa.org/newsroom/releases/2009%20Press%20Releases/AGPA-4-09-groups-work-in-economic-downturns.pdf
Hello Division 49 Members!
It is hard to believe we are already preparing for the APA 2016 National Convention in Denver (August 4-7, 2016). As programming co-chairs for the convention, Martin and I wanted to alert you to upcoming opportunities to submit group psychology and group psychotherapy proposals.
Throughout the year, there will be several opportunities to submit proposals for programming at the convention. The first type of submission requested is the collaborative programming proposal. Collaborative programming proposals are proposals that foster cross-divisional collaborations from at least two relevant divisions. For more information on the proposal submission process, please see http://www.apa.org/convention/convention-proposals.pdf. Collaborative proposals are due by Oct. 15th.
Collaborative Programming proposals are reviewed according to several agreed upon themes. The collaborative program themes adopted by APA for the 2016 convention are listed below. In addition to being cross-divisional collaborations, proposal should address at least one of these themes.
As the Division 49 Program Co-Chairs we are excited to assist members in developing collaborative proposals. Please let us know of your ideas and we will be glad to help you find co-collaborators with other interested divisions. Feel free to contact Division 49’s Program Co-Chairs for the 2016 convention, Norah Chapman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Martin Kivlighan (email@example.com) for more information.
APA 2016 Convention Program Themes
1) Social Justice in a Multicultural Society
Proposals for this theme may focus on domestic or international perspectives and the role of intersecting identities. Some topics can include interventions to reduce educational disparities for low-income youth; meeting the needs of underserved, vulnerable, and victimized populations; sex trafficking; and the psychological factors involved in officer-related shootings.
2) The Circle of Science: Integrating Science, Practice, and Policy
Proposals for this theme may focus on the tradition and value of translational research in psychology and its implications for the public interest. Proposals can focus on human factors, organizational behavior, and environmental design; and topics can include recent basic research translated into successful applications and interventions; and factors that facilitate uptake of research findings by practitioners and policymakers.
3) Advancing the Ethics of Psychology: Issues and Solutions
Proposals for this theme may focus on ethical issues and dilemmas facing the profession, psychologists, and organizations. Some topics can include real-life scenarios and case examples; theoretical models for resolving ethical dilemmas; proposals for improving the APA Ethics Code; and perspectives on and proposed solutions in the wake of the “Hoffman Report.”
4) Cannabis: Concerns, Considerations, & Controversies
Proposals submitted for this theme should focus on the impact of marijuana legalization at the individual and societal level and the pros and cons of these new policies. Some topics may include the role of cannabis in the treatment of mental disorders; the effect of marijuana use on neurodevelopment; animal studies on the effect of cannabis on behavior and offspring; empirical studies of the psychological, behavioral, and social consequences of legalization itself (as opposed to use per se); and ideas for preparing psychologists to address challenges arising from legalization.
5) Targeting the Leading Preventable Causes of Death
Proposal submitted for this theme may consider how individual, social, and cultural factors contribute to leading preventable causes of death (e.g., hypertension, smoking tobacco, and obesity). Some topics include empirical work evaluating new approaches to altering health-related behaviors; the effect of stress on the body; critical evaluations of public programs aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles (e.g., Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign); and the role of social systems and environmental settings in the incidence of diseases.
6) Educational & Professional Training Issues in Psychology
Proposals submitted for this theme may consider the evolving educational and training needs of psychologists. Possible topics include emerging techniques related to the teaching and learning of psychology; the emerging roles of psychologists in the schools; supervision models and supervisor competence; and the effect of and addressing the “internship crisis.”
7) The Future of Psychology: Advancing the Field in a Rapidly Changing World
Proposals submitted for this theme are encouraged to consider where the field is going in terms of science, practice, and its evolving role in social policy. Some topics of interest include new methodologies in novel fields (e.g., biomedicine, nanotechnology, robotics, genetics, and big data), innovative treatment modalities or services, and ways APA can positively affect change in public policy and society at-large.
Division 49’s Program Co-Chairs for the 2016 Convention
Assistant Professor and Licensed Psychologist
School of Professional Psychology
Mansion East #308
845 S. Third Street
Fax: 502 585-7159
The Early Career Psychologists from the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy (Division 49 of APA) would like to invite you to join us in a free conference call on The Co-Leadership Relationship in Group Therapy. The call will be on Monday, November 9, 2015 at 12pm (EST). Please email the Society at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions about how to access the call.
Barriers to Group Psychotherapy for African-Americans, Latino/a’s and White, non-Latino/a University Students : A Systematic Research Program to compare and contrast cultural differences and similarities.
This program will explore how three studies (Harris, 2012; Stoyell, 2013; Suri 2015) explored barriers to group psychotherapy for three different groups – African-Americans; Latino/a’s and White, non-Latino university students. Sample sizes ranged from 81 to 108, with a total N for all studies of 272. The studies utilized one set of survey questions (with occasional minor cultural variations and modifications) to allow for between and within group comparisons. The clusters of questions related to variables including 1) Coping styles 2) Expectations of group leaders 3) Expectations of group members 4) expectations of multicultural issues. Each study utilized chi-square analysis; mean scores and rank order, with factor analysis also utilized to determine the clustering of variables.
This presentation will explore which items were significant within group and between groups. Differences within group will be used to explore how relative rankings and absolute scores reflect the importance and non-importance of variables related to expectations of group psychotherapy. Between group differences in terms of ranking and mean scores will be explored to highlight the relative importance of variables to each group. Particular attention will be drawn to within and between group differences in coping style; the expectation of leaders’ ability to manage conflict and differing expectations among groups around expectation of discussing racism and discrimination. Suggestions for the training of group leaders and provision of group therapy services will be made based on these findings. Each researcher will present their findings and the between group comparisons will then be presented by the discussant.
Liaison Report from the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice
The Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy sent a liaison (Dr. Leann Diederich) to the recent CAPP board meeting in Washington, DC, in early October. Below is a summary of highlights that might be relevant to Society members, followed by a formal meeting summary submitted by CAPP from the October 2015 meeting (available as a PDF).
- Legal and Regulatory Affairs (LRA): LRA had several updates, including sharing about the success of the Multi-State Summit on Delineating Alternative Practice, Legal and Financial Models for Integration that took place in New York City in May (a streaming of the event is available for purchase at: http://bit.ly/1ieSgXS). They had a think-tank prior to the summit and are going to investigate two key topics from it: Multi-State Management Services Organization (MSO) and Multi-State Group Purchasing Organizations. Given the success of this summit, they have several summits planned for 2016, including May 20, 2016 in DC and June 24th in Chicago. They also discussed the work of a fellow, Caroline Bergner, JD, and her work on Medicaid reimbursement of interns (e.g., H&B codes allows interns to get training in integrated care) and how focusing on an opportunity for doing this in independent practice may increase supervision opportunities for interns.
- Internal Governance: A number of the topics at the recent meeting involved APAPO and CAPP internal governance concerns, such as budgets, strategic plans, and membership. Given the ramifications of the Independent Review and subsequent impact on membership across APA and APAPO, discussions were had as to how the organization can move forward with an openness to ownership and a focus on transparency.
- Psychologist Involvement in Medical Staffs: Currently, only 37 states allow psychologists to serve as hospital medical staff. CMS revised their requirements in 2012 to encourage hospitals to be “inclusive” of psychologists when making medical staff appointments, which was supported by the APAPO, however, most psychologists are unaware of the need to pursue this avenue. If you are working in a hospital setting, please consider the resources that APAPO can offer you if you are advocating for psychologists to be considered for these types of appointments.
For more details on these, please review the official CAPP Meeting Highlights.