As the saying goes, there's strength in numbers. Research shows that can be true even in psychotherapy. Scores of studies show that group therapy can be particularly effective for people who feel socially isolated by drug dependence, depression or other mental health concerns. In today's tough economic times, group treatment is also gaining popularity among insurers and consumers for being less expensive than one-to-one interventions, costing about half as much per person.
"The field is ever-increasing as groups are more utilized for all sorts of things," including pain management, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder, says Jean Keim, PhD, 2011 president of APA's Div. 49 (Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy).
To help support the growth of the next generation of therapists and researchers, APA's Div. 49 has pledged $100,000 to the American Psychological Foundation to establish a fund that will provide travel and early career research grants, student scholarships and other funding opportunities for its members.
"Like many divisions, our membership is older and we wanted to leave a legacy for training and mentoring and continued development of the specialty area," says 2011 division treasurer Lynn Rapin, PhD. "We also wanted to model to our members that giving back to the membership and the division is important."
The division has already raised $40,000 toward its goal, mostly through revenue from its journal, Group Dynamics. Six other divisions of APA have pledged similar amounts to establish a grants fund for their own members (see Grants and opportunities), Div. 49 is the first division to pledge the full amount from its own budget.
The division has a five-year plan to reach its $100,000 cash goal by 2016. Div. 49 members have started contributing to the fund on their own as well, which may mean that the division could reach its goal and start offering grants by 2014, Keim says. To encourage more contributions, the division set up a system that allows members to donate any amount they choose directly from their bank accounts, either in monthly payments or one lump sum.
"It's a use of funds that's had widespread support among our members because they see their dues as going to something specific and long-term," adds Keim. "It's also a member benefit; even if a member doesn't contribute he or she could eventually receive funds for their research."
For more information on the Div. 49 fund, email Jean Keim, PhD. Additional information on APF and its funding programs is available online.
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