Exciting times on the Div. 49 Board. So many things to talk about. I hope this finds you all well as we experience the great return from pandemic lifestyle emerging all across the country. It seems as if there are a lot of forces at work pushing us to normalize as we get out of close to 18 months of socially distanced and televideo lifestyle. There is a lot to be determined, but it appears many of us will be part of the great normalization as we contemplate the coming of fall and the great return. I know this is a very complex time and we are all facing significant transitions. And so is the division.
We just had an election, and Noelle Lefforge is 2022 president-elect, and Aziza A. Belcher will start a three-year chair of our Education and Training Committee. We are so pleased to have these members reestablishing their commitments and service to the Board. These leaders already bring us a lot and we are very excited about what the future leadership will bring us. We also want to thank the runner up candidates for their time and service to the division. We are a growing community, and we need a lot of voices to achieve our goals and dreams. Thank you all for your service.
We just had a limited agenda Spring Board Meeting and there are various projects worth review in this update. The Board has a long-term goal to better establish a long-term committee structure for The Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Specialty Council (GPGPSC). The GPGPSC is very important, as it is the source of our specialty as it is the body that generates the petitions and documentation that fulfil the requirements of APA and The Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology specialty recognition. GPGPSC is composed of the individuals who ensure this work is achieved. We are saying good-bye to Nina Brown, president, who has run this endeavor for a long time and is probably the single individual most responsible for our achieving specialty recognition. Noelle Lefforge is our new GPGPSC president and puts the leadership of GSC into our best possible successor’s hands, and this decision ensures that GPGPSC will be well established on the Div. 49 Board with the longer view in mind. We are so fortunate to have such excellent and capable leadership in this long-term professional advocacy campaign that has far reaching ramifications for all aspects of group psychology and group psychotherapy theory, research, and practice.
One of the major obligations for GSC is the dissemination of science data about group psychology and group psychotherapy. The Board established a new commitment in this regard in partnership with Div. 49 Past President Gary Burlingame who is working with his long-term writing partner and division member Gerhard Struss to publish studies that demonstrate empirically based group therapy treatments. We envision this to be a longer-term project and for now have invested some seed dollars in the project and hope to see some development in this project over the next couple of years. Other APA divisions have done a good job of implementing these types of web pages and we are now starting to work in this direction for group psychology and group psychotherapy as well.
Another major obligation for GPGPSC is provision of continuing professional education for specialty practice. We are so thankful, yet again, to Noelle Lefforge who authored our successful application to APA which means we are now able to provide continuing education for psychologists in group psychology and group psychotherapy when programs fulfill our review requirements. Look out for a whole new channel of group psychology and group psychotherapy CE coming out from Div. 49 in the coming year. Thank You Noelle for bringing us this fabulous achievement.
We are just about to send the division membership a ballet to approve our Div. 49 Bylaws which has been a multi-year project that has been chaired by 2021 President’s Committee on Documents Jennifer Martin. You will be voting on changes mandated by APA, increasing the president term to two years to facilitate leadership over time and the necessary changes to the executive committee necessary to allow this transition, updating gender pronouns to the current APA Publication Manual Specifications and a name change for Diversity Committee. We hope you will all support these changes the Board has worked hard on through two years of division trio leadership.
Our goal is to get these Bylaws approved by the membership this summer. The Bylaws edits also required changes in our Policy and Procedure Manual (P&P Manual) which board members use to understand the work and calendar of the division’s business. The Board approved the new P&P Manual at this meeting and when the vote comes in from membership this cycle will be complete. We want to acknowledge the efforts of Joe Miles, Shala Cole, Dennis Kivlighan, Leann Diedrich, and Lee Gillis who were generous of their time to read the details and engage in thoughtful discussion to bring these changes to fruition. I also want to acknowledge the awesome administrative efforts of Jen Martin who has done all of this with grace, skill and a great big smile. Thank You Jen!
I also want to say that Membership Committee has been diligently at work trying to deal with our membership statistics which suffer from a lack of graduate students and early career members. In this regard I want to acknowledge the efforts of Membership Chair Shala Cole and Program Chair Lisa de la Rue who grew an idea into a proposal for a Div. 49 Institute that will allow free membership for individuals who want to establish roots in the division. This awesome work is about the future and is our best hope to address the problem of our aging and demographically limited membership. Thank You Lisa and Shala for all of your excellent vision, work and leadership in this endeavor. We will see the results of these efforts for many years to come.
This Board is simply awesome. I am getting into the second half of my term as I write these words and I want to say that my experience here on the Div. 49 Board is the best in all my years of professional service. The division is growing, and we have great leadership.
Now, if we can all just survive the great return to normal life without too much grief. Best wishes for that to you all.