Greetings to the membership of Div. 49. Twelve months ago, we were feeling pretty good about our progress on the nearly two-decade campaign to get APA CRSPPP to acknowledge group psychology and group psychotherapy as an accredited specialty in professional psychology. So many Div. 49 members were involved in this long-term project, and many of us seniors remember well our earlier days when those who trained and mentored us were talking about the importance of starting a campaign to accredit group psychology.
In August of 2018, APA Council voted in support of the CRSPPP recommendation that group psychology and group psychotherapy be elevated to specialty practice status in professional psychology. We now have a specialty and our goal is to get everyone invested in this big piece of progress.
On the Group Specialty Council pages of the Div. 49 website, we have posted documents that support the group psychology and group psychotherapy as a specialty, and they in most ways define us and give guidelines for how we should be training, supervising and mentoring. One of the first projects we have is to increase the basic coursework and practicum training resources in graduate programs around the country.
In this regard, we worked to have a reception for model doctoral programs at APA 2019 without much success. We are now working on a campaign across multiple organizations with the goal of enticing graduate faculty to be more involved with our various training resources and materials. We are already thinking about our longer-term plans for the 2020 APA Annual Meeting and how we can better provide programming and resources that make access to group training and education more available at that annual event. We have several groups of individuals who are doing significant leadership work that is designed to advance our group psychology cause.
President Martyn Whittingham and President-elect Cheri Marmorosh are working to get overview articles published in prominent APA journals where they have contacts as a function of the academic work in our area of specialty. They are working to produce publications that offer broader understanding of the scientific basis of group psychology and group psychotherapy practice with the goal of helping more people to understand the value of this literature and how it can positively impact mental health service delivery across the country.
We also have board members Jennifer Martin and Meredith Tittler producing a survey of education options for practicum, internship and postdoc trainees in group psychology and group psychotherapy. We now know that there are distinct programs in the country that offer strong training in the specialty, and we are hoping that this survey will lead to some useful and concrete recommendations about who is doing what and where.
Martyn Whittingham has been distributing information on an American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) survey of programs in the country that provide group therapy services as well as training opportunity for graduate students in mental health domains. This survey is very helpful for us in terms of understanding the breadth of programming offered and who can learn what where. These kinds of endeavors will be pivotal as we move forward with recommendations about how to plan a career and obtain appropriate training in the specialty practice of group psychology and group psychotherapy.
We are also in dialogue with several sister organizations that accredit and register mental health professionals and are working to assist them in knowing more about group psychology and group psychotherapy and to consider using some of our credentials as bona fides in their organizational data basses. This endeavor of expanding and growing our presence nationally follows from our first beginnings of accreditation just last year.
So much of what we are working toward is to change our course of history. We have been present but not accredited and now that we are, we need to begin to hold some lines about what it means to be a group sychologist and to practice group psychology.