In this issue
A tribute to Robert Conyne
By Leann Terry, PhD
There are so many ways to describe Bob Conyne. He is a true scholar, dedicated to prevention, a mentor and a family man. His dedication to the field of group, prevention, and ecological counseling is tremendous. As a sample of the recognitions he has been given: He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Psychological Association’s Prevention section (2006), he was the recipient of the Eminent Career Award by the Association for Specialists in Group Work in 2005, and he was elected fellow of three divisions in the American Psychological Association (divisions of group psychology and group psychotherapy, consulting and counseling psychology).
I recently had the privilege to interview him to get caught up on what he has been doing in anticipation of writing this article. Recently, Bob has been doing military family life consultation that is focused on prevention. He spends approximately one-third of his time on this, often being out of the country on military bases. Prevention has long been one of his priorities and this is evident throughout a variety of his previous activities. When he was president of our society in 2009, his presidential year culminated with a special issue of Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice focused on prevention groups (Volume 14, 2010). He has served as a consultant and invited presenter to a wide range of organizations. He has traveled to Northern Ireland for suicide prevention and received an NIMH Mental Health Services Research Grant (“Research Training in University Primary Prevention”). To say that he has published prolifically in this area would be an understatement; he has published over 40 books, book chapters and articles on prevention. Although currently focused on military family life and prevention, in the past he has also focused on relationships with international organizations. For instance, in the 1990s he started a collaborative research project on group work training with organizations and universities in China and made numerous visits to China as well as hosted visiting scholars. In 2001 he headed a delegation visit to China that was a collaborative effort between the Institute of Psychology (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and the University of Cincinnati. He was on sabbatical in China in 2007 and was the invited keynote presenter and invited trainer at the 10th National Counseling Centers Conference, at Harbin University with a training on “Best Practices in Group Work: Planning.” He was also an invited trainer at Beijing University and Tsinghua University in China on the topic of group work.
As many of you know, Bob has played a tremendous role in the field of group counseling and group work. He crosses disciplines and is active in APA, ACA, and AGPA and worked to form a collaborative working arrangement with all three organizations. He was president of our Society, President of the Association for Specialists in Group Work, and past editor of the Journal for Specialists in Group Work. His influence on group counseling and psychotherapy through his editorial and publishing responsibilities is evident. A recent publication is his edited Handbook of Group Counseling (2011), yet his writing dates back to the late ’60s and early ’70s with topics on grouping, group process teaching, and group experiences in college counseling centers. Bob currently spends about one-third of his time on scholarly writing. He is currently the editor of several book series in-process, including a prevention practice kit (with Andy Horne) and a group work practice kit. As his wife, Lynn Rapin described, he is a "prolific" writer and has likely influenced thousands through his writing.
Yet, when I think about Bob, it is not his list of accomplishments that stands out (although those are numerous, as you can see!)...but rather his personal characteristics. His warmth, infectious laugh and the twinkle in his eye draw you in and make connecting with him a joy. Bob helped nurture my connection to this society, and I am sure he has done that for many other students and professionals. He has touched many lives through his dedication to group work, prevention, consultation and ecological counseling. Bob, for your contributions to the field of group psychotherapy and group psychology, for your mentoring and for your giving spirit...we thank you.