by Christine Schmidt

The mission of the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society (EGPS) is to promote group approaches to the delivery of human services. The Executive Committee elaborates, “As responsible citizens and caring professionals, we cannot stand silently by while members of our larger community are attacked and oppressed by those in power. EGPS seeks to encourage actions that protect the rights and safety of all peoples.”

This issue of GROUP, the journal of EGPS, aligns with EGPS’ mission for social justice through group work. We are social beings, and our survival is tied to the survival and well-being of everyone. Social justice is a virtue that can guide our interactions as people who strive for basic dignity and human rights. Too often the well-being of a group or members of that group are oppressed by those with power and privilege. Justice demands equity for marginalized groups and individuals.

Group work creates spaces for personal growth and personal responsibility that fosters positive societal change. In groups, we strive to make space for individuals and groups marginalized by oppression from racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, ageism, ableism and more. By making space for marginalized voices, we begin to make reparative actions. When individuals develop a sense of agency, their empowerment is embodied in a social context. Our successes are dependent upon one another. Integrating the social and individual can only happen in groups.

The articles in this issue illustrate an array of social justice concerns that arise in groups both inside and outside of clinical settings. Informed by theoretical approaches that include psychodynamic, systems centered treatment, blended didactic and analytic process, psychodrama, group relations and community organizing approaches, the authors demonstrate how to support human change in a social context.

Topics could include but are not limited to:

  • Racial and interethnic dynamics that interrupt progressive development.
  • Affirmation of gender and sexual minorities. 
  • Exposure and examination of micro-aggressions.
  • Development of group norms that counter mainstream cultural power dynamics.
  • Examination of internalized stereotypes about body image and the sexualization of stereotypes.
  • Effective engagement of adversaries in conversations about charged issues like Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
  • Navigating the collision of large group identity with individual or subgroup identity.
  • Understanding grief and loss in a racialized and gendered society.
  • Organizing against politically oppressive systems.
  • Exposing the relationship between addiction and oppression.

For prospective authors:

  • Consider writing a 4,000-8,000 word article.
  • Propose your article by submission of 250 word abstract to Christine Schmidt, LCSW, CGP, by April 1, 2019
  • If accepted, submit a draft of your article by June 15, 2019, for peer review. 
  • Final revisions are due by Aug. 15, 2019.

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