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Candidate statements

Meet the candidates for Div. 49 offices, including president-elect, member-at-large, secretary and council representative.

Candidates for President-Elect

Dennis Kivlighan, PhD

Dennis Kivlighan, PhD I am honored to be nominated to run for president of APA Div. 49. The Group Division has been my intellectual and social home in APA. As a young group psychologist I was encouraged and supported by members of the Division and I want to make sure that our community of group psychologists remains vital and relevant for the next generation of group psychologists.

My deep and abiding interest in groups began with an introduction to positive peer culture groups at the United Methodist Children’s Home in Richmond, Virginia and was cemented during my graduate school experiences working with Tom McGovern, Jack Corazzini, and Don Forsyth. I have been fortunate to have mentors who were and are imminent practitioners and researchers. For over 25 years I have continuously co-led and conducted research on counseling, psychotherapy , and intergroup dialogue groups. My first professional position was as a staff psychologist and the group coordinator in the Counseling Center at the University of Maryland. Currently, I am a professor in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education at the University of Maryland. I had the honor of following Don Forsyth as the second Editor of Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice and I continue to be on the editorial board of the journal. Editing Group Dynamics was a seminal experience for me. The real strength of Division 49 and by extension our journal is the complex perspectives and sophisticated understandings of groups that emerge when members of different disciplines and specialty areas engage in the practice and science of group dynamics. If elected president of the Division one of my goals will be to expand and deepen the interactions among the different specialties represented in the division. A second passion for me is mentoring group practitioners and group researchers. I am particularly proud that my students have consistently presented posters and papers in the division. I am particularly interested in indulging in my passion by looking for ways to increase graduate students’ and young professionals’ participation in the life of our division.

Paul Paulus, PhD

Paul Paulus, PhD The study of groups has been my focus during my entire academic career. My recent efforts have focused on creativity and innovation in groups and teams. Although teamwork is in vogue, much of the groups literature suggests that many factors can limit the effectiveness of teams. I have spent more than 20 years investigating how to tap the creative potential of groups. In some of my writing I have tried to relate that work to educational, work, and therapy groups. In the earlier phase of my career, I spent about 20 years examining the role of environmental factors in the health and well-being of inmates in prisons and army families in mobile home parks and apartments. So I have developed a keen appreciation of the importance of the link between basic research and practice. That is why I have been a member of Division 49 since its founding. The various areas of group psychology and group psychotherapy have much to offer one another. So it is important to foster both personal and intellectual exchanges in these domains. As President I would build on the prior efforts to further strengthen the connections among the different areas. The success of the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research (INGRoup) has demonstrated the great potential of bringing people together from different disciplines interested in group research. Our vitality as a division will depend on the excitement of our programs and the ability to draw new members, including student members. There have been some excellent discussions of these issues in The Group Psychologist. Hopefully, in the next few years we can build on the ideas in the pipeline and new ideas to enhance the division. I have spent my entire academic career at the University of Texas at Arlington. In addition to my research and teaching, I have served as Chair of the Department of Psychology, Associate Dean of the College of Science, and Dean of the College of Science. I have also had visiting appointments at at Bar Ilan University, the University of Groningen, the University of Sydney, the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Candidates for Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee

Scott Conkright, PsyD

Scott Conkright, PsyD Scott Conkright, PsyD, is a psychologist in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and addictions. He has taught at Argosy and Oglethorpe University, and has conducted workshops for professionals and the general public on topics such as sexuality, the use of metaphor in group therapy and Lacanian psychoanalysis. He is a former member of the affiliate Board of Directors for the American Group Psychotherapy Association and is a past president of the Atlanta Group Psychotherapy Society. He also writes for professional and nonprofessional journals and has recently completed a book on Lacan and group psychotherapy. He is currently Secretary of Division 49.

Joe Powers, PhD

Joseph P. Powers, PhD Joseph P. Powers, PhD, director of Group Psychotherapy at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, clinical instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. I have endeavored to practice a tripartite model of practitioner, educator, and trainer in group psychology and group psychotherapy through development of hospital-based programs for inpatient, partial, and residential programs. This extends to working on an intense level with multiple diagnostic clinical populations, especially emphasizing creativity and recovery. Finally, my involvement in clinical training programs has included Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellows, Residents, Psychiatry Fellows, Interns, Practicum students, and extensive training of hospital staff on the basics for leading successful groups. I would hope that I could bring this experience to Division 49 and contribute to the growth of the organization.

Sam Steen, PhD

Sam Steen, PhD Sam Steen, PhD, an assistant professor of counseling at George Washington University, has a decade of school counseling experience. He has published both articles and book chapters about school-based group counseling interventions, training and preparation for group work, and school counselors’ perceptions of their current practice in group work.


Candidates for Secretary

Jennifer Alonso, PhD

Jennifer Alonso, PhD Jennifer Alonso received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Brigham Young University. She works at the University of Florida’s Counseling and Wellness Center, where she serves as the Group Therapy Coordinator over 25 groups a semester. She enjoys teaching and sharing her enthusiasm for group with students and colleagues.

Joe Miles, PhD

Joe Miles, PhD Joe Miles is an assistant professor of counseling psychology at the University of Tennessee, where he teaches two group counseling courses, and researches group process and outcome, and multicultural group interventions. He is currently a member of the Diversity Committee and co-chair for the Early Career Committee of Division 49.




Candidates for Council Representative

Sally Barlow, PhD

Sally Barlow, PhD Council Representative is a very important position; Division 49’s interests must be at the forefront of any representative’s strategy when attending meetings during the year. I attended just one council meeting many years ago when the representative at that time could not attend, and found myself intrigued by the tumultuous group dynamics—likely due to the push and pull between this legislative branch and the APA executive branch. Over the years I have watched Gloria Gottsegen’s dedicated responsibility to our society and would hope to replicate this dedication if I were elected to the position. As a past president of Society 49, and the current president of the Academy of Group Psychology of the American Board for Professional Psychologists (ABPP), I have learned a great deal about the twin goals—essential tensions, really-- of attending to administrative minutiae vs. providing creative initiatives that sustain such organizations.

Jean Keim, PhD

Jean Keim, PhD It is my pleasure and honor to accept the division’s nomination for Council of Representatives. I believe the role of Council of Representatives (COR) is critical to 49. Recently, I was asked to substitute for our current representative, Gloria Gottsegen, at the Council Meeting. Her work on the Council over the years has been an amazing contribution to 49. As her term ends, we owe her thanks.

The meeting, although an unexpected request from 49, was an excellent opportunity to determine my fit with the Council and my ability to meet the demands of a Council Representative. I’m happy to report that, upon self-reflection, the fit was excellent and I believe I have the skills necessary to represent 49. I have been interested in APA governance for over 20 years, and believe, given my motivation and experience, that this is the time for me to serve. My commitment to 49 is unwavering.

I am aware of the needs of Division 49, the Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy. For example, I worked to establish and fund a group psychology and group psychotherapy foundation based on desires of the division. My experience as division president provides insight into our members’ needs and the direction 49 desires for APA. I have an understanding of the impact of APA policies on 49 and the ability to voice our concerns to the larger group of representatives. Additionally, my having achieved the ABPP in Group is evidence of my commitment to Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy.

In summary, I continue to believe in the power of group, and the critical importance of representing 49’s concerns to the Council of Representatives. I have a record of commitment to 49 and am honored to serve the division. Having substituted at the council meeting, I realized that I fit well with the experience levels of other representatives. Finally, my motivation and willingness to work tirelessly to benefit the division will be my greatest asset as a Council Representative. Words cannot describe the honor it would be to continue my service to the division in this capacity.

Kathleen Y. Ritter, PhD

Kathleen Y. Ritter, PhD I am honored to have my name on the ballot to represent Division 49 on the APA Council of Representatives. I have been a member-at-large on the Division Board of Directors, participated in selecting group-related programs for the APA annual convention, and I am a Fellow of the Division. I also have served several terms on the editorial board of the Journal for Specialists in Group Work, and am a fellow of the Association for Specialists in Group Work. I have presented numerous programs at professional meetings related to group-related topics. My interest in psychodynamic group therapy has led to two recent articles in The Group Psychologist (Vols. 16[1] and 18[3]) and several related presentations, as well as others about spirituality in groups.

I am a professor of counseling psychology at California State University, Bakersfield, where I have spent my nearly
40-year career teaching, practicing, writing and presenting. During this I have come to see group psychology and group psychotherapy as undervalued by clinicians, training programs, researchers, licensing boards, funding agencies and insurance companies. Compared to other divisions in APA, we are small, and advocacy for group modalities is sorely needed, both within our organization and in the public arena. If elected, I will cast my votes at APA Council in the interest of group psychology and group psychotherapy. I also will seek input from the Board of Directors and division members on issues facing the Council of Representatives, as well as keep the division informed of those matters.


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