I am so pleased that you are all members of Div. 49. I began my Presidency on Jan. 1, 2013 and it has already been very busy. At our Midwinter Board meeting in early February 2013 we discussed the importance of emphasizing training and supervision of groups, two areas that are often neglected in the literature, research, and practice. At a time when group psychotherapy is becoming an even more widely used method of treatment and often considered the “treatment of choice” for certain problems, graduate courses in group have decreased in number and scope. The emphasis continues to be heavily on individual treatment, which of course is necessary but for an ever growing number of counselors, social workers, and psychologists, it is not sufficient for the future needs of the mental health field.
I will be looking at ways to increase the types and number of training and educational opportunities for group leaders and group researchers. Technology has increased our ability to offer group training using information on the web, webinars, and through the newsletter, the journal, and preconference and conference workshops and presentations.
We strongly believe that group psychotherapy has many unique components as compared to other therapeutic treatments and that there are competencies in knowledge and skill that are evident in experienced group leaders. We need to do a much better job of training students and early career psychologists in these competency areas in order to increase their effectiveness in conducting groups. Our membership is rich with experience and energy across the entire spectrum of group leadership. Some of you provide training to others and may want to contribute your expertise to the division. Others might want to receive some general or specialized training in how to facilitate a group.
I look forward to a year where I am able to learn from you, and hear your ideas about what types of training opportunities that you would like the division to consider offering with regards to group practice, group research, and teaching group work.