Columns

Early career musings

This new section offers resources for early career group psychologists and a section that highlights their experiences

By Joe Miles and Leann Terry, PhD

Welcome to the first in what we hope will be an ongoing column for early career group psychologists (ECGPs)! As co-chairs of the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy’s Ad Hoc Early Career Psychologist Committee, we hope that this column will be a space where we can reflect on the joys and challenges of being an ECGP in both academic and clinical settings and where we share resources we have come across as we have begun our journeys.

The Ad Hoc Early Career Psychologist Committee was re-established by the Society in 2011. Over the past year, we have been working on developing some exciting initiatives. First, we are in the process of assembling an Early Career section of the Division website. This section will include resources for ECGPs conducting group interventions (e.g., practice guidelines, recommended readings and group videos), doing group research (e.g., information on grants and funding, information on group journals), and teaching about group work (e.g., sample syllabi, course content). In addition, this section of the website will include some resources that may be of interest to early career psychologists, more broadly, such as information on self-care, work-life balance and the tenure process. We welcome ideas and contributions to continue to build the ECGP section of the website.

The Ad Hoc Early Career Psychologist Committee will also be helping to host a Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Early Career Group Psychologist Brunch at the annual American Psychological Association (APA) Convention in Orlando. The brunch will be held from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 3rd at the Napa restaurant in the Peabody Orlando Hotel. The Peabody Orlando Hotel is located near the Convention Center at 9801 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. For more information, please feel free to email us to RSVP.

Finally, the Ad Hoc Early Career Psychologist Committee will be hosting an ECGP roundtable presentation at the APA Convention in Orlando, “Creating Dialogue: A Conversation Between Early Career Group Psychologists.” This will be an informal opportunity for ECGPs to meet one another, network, and discuss challenges, successes, resources, and questions that have come up as they begin their careers in group psychology. The roundtable will be held on Saturday, Aug. 4th, from 12 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. in Room W102B in the Convention Center. We hope to see you there!

As our hope is that the Early Career Musings section will be a somewhat more personal look at the challenges and successes we (and other ECGPs) encounter, we would like to wrap up this first column with some of our reflections on our experiences as ECGPs, thus far.

Joe Miles

Being a part of the Society for Group Psychology and Psychotherapy Ad Hoc Early Career Psychologist Committee, and writing this column, has prompted me to reflect more directly on my experiences as an early career psychologist with a primary interest in group research and group work. I have just completed my second year as an assistant professor in a counseling psychology program at a large university, and have experienced both challenges and successes as I have begun my academic career. I have been fortunate as I begin my career to be in a setting in which my duties include the teaching of two group courses, an introductory group course and an advanced course with a focus on diversity and social justice in group work. In the latter course, my students learn a model of intergroup dialogue in which individuals from different social identity groups come together in small groups with the goals of developing relationships across groups, developing awareness of social identity, privilege and oppression, and developing the capacities to work toward social justice. The process and outcome of intergroup dialogue (and group interventions, more broadly) are also the main focus of my research program, and I am working on developing an intergroup dialogue program at my university, which I believe will both address issues of social justice on campus and provide a rich source of research data. In addition, I am in the beginning stages of obtaining licensure in Tennessee. Negotiating this wide range of new roles has presented me with a new and exciting set of challenges (“What books should I use in my group courses?” “What allies do I need to have on campus to help me establish a strong, ongoing intergroup dialogue program on campus?” “What does being a mentor to graduate students mean?”). Fortunately, I have had wonderful mentorship as I have begun my journey, which has been a valuable resource as I tackle each new issue. I look forward to serving as Co-Chair of the Ad Hoc Early Career Committee, and continuing to reflect on these new experiences as they continue to develop, and I look forward to talking to other ECGPs (as well as those who have successfully emerged from the early career phase) about group work. You can reach me by email.

Leann Terry

Being an early career psychologist is an exciting time, but comes with a specific set of challenges. In writing for this column, there are a number of different experiences I might write about. As a psychologist at a large university counseling center, I have a range of responsibilities. These include seeing individual clients, running two ongoing Yalom-style process groups for graduate students, supervising, teaching a seminar, and some research and technology-related responsibilities. In addition, I am the Group Psychotherapy Coordinator at our counseling center. This entails organizing and providing staff trainings throughout the year, coleading the group seminar/supervision for our doctoral interns, and organizing the layout and advertisement of our group program (20+ groups every semester). I’m also in the final stages of getting licensed as a psychologist in Pennsylvania (whew!). I also collaborate with colleagues on writing book chapters and books on group therapy. In addition, there’s a whole world of life outside of work! Making time to nurture my relationships, enjoy my garden, and have some fun has to fit in there too! Navigating all of that can be tricky…so I’m hoping to be able to reflect on these experiences in this column. If there is something you are particularly interested in hearing about, please let me know! You can reach me by email.

We look forward to bringing you this column in each upcoming issue of The Group Psychologist. We would also like to invite early career group psychologists to contribute to this column, either with ideas for topics that they would like to see discussed or with written contributions. We also welcome contributions and suggestions for this column from those beyond the “early” stages of their careers. Please feel free to contact Joe Miles and Leann Terry.

Early Career Professional Brunch

The Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy (Division 49) would like to invite early career psychologists to an Early Career Professional Brunch at the 2012 American Psychological Association Convention in Orlando.

The brunch will be held from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 3rd at the Napa restaurant in the Peabody Orlando Hotel. The Peabody Orlando Hotel is located near the Convention Center at 9801 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. We will post signs in the restaurant to direct you to the seating area set aside for the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy.

The brunch, which will be free to early career psychologists interested in group therapy or group psychology, will consist of the Napa’s standard buffet. A full menu can be seen on the Napa’s website.

Please email Joe Miles and Leann Terry by July 31 to indicate interest so that we can have an idea of the number of guests to expect.