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President-elect's column

The president-elect wants to provide more training for its members and those individuals involved group psychology, and more strongly connect group practice with group research

By Maria Riva, PhD

I am excited to be a part of Division 49 and I look forward to working with and for you. I would like to take a bit of space in this newsletter to talk about some of the ideas that are on my mind as I begin my year as president-elect. First, I love groups. This includes all areas including practice, training, and research. I know this year will be one that is fi lled with learning opportunities for me. I also know that much of this learning will come from all of you so I hope to hear from you about what is important to you about Division 49 and what you would like to change. These are 3 things that I have been thinking about.

  • I believe that group dynamics occur everywhere and that Division 49 should take a broad view of group psychology and group psychotherapy. Many of our members conduct therapy groups for a wide range of problems, and also facilitate groups for those who want to learn a new skill, or group for prevention. Yet, there are also groups that work to solve problems in the business arena, doctors and nurses who work together in emergency situations, and sports teams that function well because they have a skilled leader who understands how to motivate the team and its members. It is my belief that we use our group skills every day and in many situations such as in organizing family activities and staff meetings. Our skills are benefi cial to a broad range of people and situations. What I often take for granted is that most people have these leadership skills, yet in truth I have been in many situations that the group functioned so poorly that much time was wasted, people became frustrated, and collaboration was nonexistent. We do need to honor the fact that we have unique and important skills that benefit others and that are vital in many situations.

  • I believe that we need to more strongly connect group practice with group research. We can be confident from the research that groups are effective. What will be important is to help group leaders and group researchers connect with each other more effectively so that research is written in a way that can be translated to practice and that group practitioners can discuss with researchers what they observe that works from their experience.

  • I think that Division 49 needs to provide more training for its members and for the field in general. Training is not only for those who have been thrust into group leaderships without much training but also for all of us deepen and widen our skills. Research on group psychotherapy is also another area where training is needed.

How about for you? What ideas do you have for Division 49? I look forward to a great year. Email me.