Reflections on the convention in Tampa

The Orlando convention offered several new and exciting opportunities for early career group psychologists

By Leann Terry, PhD

Due to a flight cancellation, my time at APA was cut a bit shorter than anticipated this year. However, it was full of typical Society gatherings, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends. As I think back on it, here are some of the highlights:

  • The Early Career Psychologist (ECP) Roundtable was a resounding success. After introductions, we divided into small groups to discuss topics of interest. See more in the ECP column about this event.
  • I attended the Membership Committee meeting. There were a number of interesting take-away points from this meeting. I appreciated the focus on ECPs and am bringing their handout of “25 Ideas that Work! What APA Divisions and State Psychological Associations Can do to Recruit and Retain Early Career Psychologists” to our ECP Committee in the Society for further consideration.
  • I also attended the Committee on Early Career Psychologists hosted by APA. They encouraged ECPs to consider participating in APA boards and committees, but acknowledged that there are some tips that can make it much easier. A tip sheet was passed out that I’d be happy to give to any ECP considering this. Just email me if you are interested in receiving this. Tips included topics like having your letter of interest include what experiences you have that qualify you for the position, how you have the ability to think beyond your division and work with people from different perspectives in APA, and how you might help the committee further APA’s strategic plan.
  • I loved seeing Sally Barlow receive the Group Psychologist of the Year award. Sally is a phenomenal woman in the world of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy, and it was wonderful to see her honored with this award.
  • Being able to make new friends and find myself part of a “new group” is one reason why I love our Society. On Saturday evening of the convention, I found myself without plans. I had recently reconnected with Jen Alonso at our ECP roundtable, and inquired what her plans were for the evening. She graciously invited me to join her and her husband for a night at downtown disney. What a great time we had! We discovered many similarities among the three of us, enjoyed a fabulous meal and took in the sights. It is the openness of Society members like this that I find so rewarding when I attend conventions. Thanks, Jen and Daniel, for a great evening.
  • Seeing the energy at the Society’s social was wonderful. There were many new faces and connections being made. Somehow the word got out that the party started earlier than 6 p.m., so it was a great surprise to get there “early” and feel like it was already a happening place. This kind of young energy is exactly what the Society needs, so I’m thankful to the students and ECPs who helped make this year’s social a great event.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Early Career Psychologists, Fall 2012

This year’s APA Convention in Orlando offered a several new and exciting opportunities for early career group psychologists. First, The Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy also hosted a brunch for early career professionals at the Napa restaurant in the Peabody hotel. This brunch provided early career group psychologists an opportunity to meet and network with one another, and with Society leadership. The Ad Hoc Early Career Psychologist Committee of the Society is continuing to discuss and explore ideas to engage early career group psychologists at future conventions.

In addition, the Ad Hoc Early Career Psychologist Committee hosted a conversation hour at the Convention Center entitled “Creating Dialogue: A Conversation Between Early Career Group Psychologists.” This 50-minute session offered the opportunity for early career psychologists from a variety of settings to dialogue about group-related issues relevant to their professional lives. This wellattended session included three break-out groups focused on (1) groups in counseling centers, (2) research and teaching on groups in academic settings, and (3) groups in health care settings and with adolescents. The counseling center group, facilitated by Leann Terry Diederich, included ideas for naming and marketing groups, tangible activities to engage group members in the here-and-now, preparing student clients for group, and staff buy-in regarding group. The research and teaching on groups in academic settings group, facilitated by Joe Miles, discussed special topics and methodological considerations in group research, and the structure and syllabi of group courses. The third group, facilitated by Rachelle Rene, discussed a range of group topics including groups with members with chronic health concerns. We hope to have plans in place for similar conversation hours between early career group psychologists at future APA Conventions. We are also discussing ways in which we might facilitate ongoing dialogues between early career group psychologists in between conventions. If you have ideas about creating ongoing dialogue between early career group psychologists, or if you would like to be involved, please contact Leann Terry Diederich or Joe Miles.

The Ad Hoc Early Career Psychologist Committee of the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy is continuing to grow and evolve, and will now be a subcommittee of the Membership Committee. Along with this change, we are also adding two new members, Jennifer Alonso and Rachelle Rene, who we’d like to introduce in our ongoing columns.

Jennifer Alonso: I am thrilled to be a part of this committee! As a new professional I am always interested in working with and supporting others, especially those who have a passion for group therapy like I do. The mentorship I have received from so many others within the group field has been invaluable and I hope to use their support and guidance as a springboard for myself and others. I am a new professional graduating from Brigham Young University’s Clinical Psychology program in 2011 and now working at the University of Florida, Counseling and Wellness Center as a licensed psychologist and group therapy coordinator. I have also had the opportunity to teach group therapy seminars to trainees, provide in-house group CEs at the center and teach a graduate course on Group Therapy. To maintain wellness I enjoy training my Bichon Frise dog to be a therapy dog, biking, making homemade cards and baking chocolately treats.

Stay tuned next issue for learning more about Rachelle. If you are interested in joining us as we continue to grow, please contact Leann Terry Diederich or Joe Miles.