The new Journal of Specialists in Group Work came yesterday and I picked it up with the passing thought, “Maybe there will be something in here for my blog.”
A quick scan of the contents table didn’t seem to offer much in the way of blog material, so I started with the editorial. And presto! There it was!
This issue’s editorial is about the places where group work could use more research. There were three areas offered, the last of which really captured my attention: more research on how supervision is done in groups. The evidence is clear for the effectiveness of group supervision as a teaching/training model. But research on how to supervise groups is an identified area of underdevelopment.
Bingo! That’s what the Therapeutic Writing Institute has been doing for the entire decade of its existence, and that’s what I did for eight years prior as a mentor/supervisor for the International Federation of Biblio/Poetry Therapy. We know a lot about group process and how it works, at least with therapeutic writing as a core component.
Reading this editorial just days before our LIVE! with Kay with expressive writing research guru Jamie Pennebaker is synchronistic by itself. But just wait until you hear what we’re going to talk about —
Last week I asked Jamie if we could have a conversation about how to incorporate the 4-part writing model, and writing in general, into clinical settings, both as a one-time intervention and as an ongoing process. The 4-part write, particularly when paired with a reflection write, can yield rich, fertile soil for planting writing prompts that can deepen, expand, reframe, transform. In the research model, the write concludes with the last day. In the clinical model, the write continues through the writer’s harvested reflection and the skilled facilitator’s curation of writing prompts designed to extend the acquired insight into deeper process and solution-focused action.
I know this process works because I’ve been doing it for 33 years and I’ve taught thousands of facilitators and therapists about it (probably including many/most of you reading this blog). What has been lacking is a structured way to standardize an assessment that can be used to identify change as a result of therapeutic writing group process. We have also not had a standardized way to gather evidence on the effectiveness of the therapeutic writing group facilitation — the supervision of the group itself.
These are two of the questions I will pose to Jamie on Thursday at 1 PT, 4 ET. I invite you to include your own questions about how we might bring manageable research elements into our work. Write them in the comments section and I’ll curate a set of questions to ask.
Hope you’ll join me for what promises to be a stimulating conversation on Thursday! Watch your Tuesday newsletter for info on how to join the call.
Your turn! What questions do you have for Jamie Pennebaker?