President-Elect Column

Dennnis M. Kivlighan , Jr., PhD
Dennnis M. Kivlighan , Jr., PhD

Dennis M. Kivlighan, Jr., Ph.D.

I have jogged or walk most mornings for the past 35 years. At various times three different dogs have been my companions during these early morning outings; however my most consistent companion has been Morning Edition on National Public Radio. I enjoy and usually learn something from all of the different segments on Morning Edition but the segments that often touches me on a deeper level are the Friday morning StoryCorps broadcasts.

StoryCorps is an oral history project that records and archives peoples conversations. Participants often talk about their experiences, their relationship and their feelings toward each other. Within StoryCorps there are a number different initiatives focusing on specific issues or populations. Some of these special initiatives include: The Historias Initiative which collects the living history of Latinos in the United States; StoryCorps OutLoud which records and preserves the experiences of the LGBTQ community; and StoryCorps Legacy which archives stories of those living with serious illness and the ones who support them.

These StoryCorps conversations are engaging, compelling, real, touching, funny, sad, hopeful and meaningful. These are many of the same qualities that attract me to groups and to group therapy. Those of you who have listened to StoryCorps probably have had similar reactions. If you have never listened to Story Corps I encourage you to checkout their archives using this link: One of my favorite conversations can be found at this link:

At our board meeting last winter we talked about starting a StoryCorps type of initiative within in the Society. Our idea is to ask Division 49 members to video tape conversations about groups and about the Society. Please consider this a formal invitation to participate in our GroupVoices project. All you need to do to participate in this Group Voices project is to get a conversation partner and videotape your conversation. Your conversations can be with anybody meaningful to you in your group experiences. It could be a conversation with a teacher, mentor, research partner, co-leader, student, colleague, group member or group leader. You may want to consider talking about: what or who drew you to working with or doing research on groups; some of your meaningful group related experiences; and/or what you have learned about groups. We also hope that you will consider talking about your experiences in Division 49. For example, how did you get involved in the Society, what have your experiences with the Society been like, and your hopes and dreams for the Society.

We already have one conversation in our GroupVoices project. You can check out the conversation between Gary Burlingame (Gary is well known to many people in Division 49 as a prolific and sophisticated group researcher, an innovative and involved group teacher and mentor and the first Associate Editor of Group Dynamics: Theory Research and Practice) and Sean Woodland (one of Gary’s students at Brigham Young University and the student representative on the Division 49 Board) at:

If you decide to participate in our GroupVoices project (and I really hope that all of you do decide to participate) you can send video recorded conversation or a YouTube link to me at