Examining Social Identities and Diversity Issues in Group Therapy : Knocking at the Boundaries book cover
1st Edition

Examining Social Identities and Diversity Issues in Group Therapy
Knocking at the Boundaries

Edited By

Michele D. Ribeiro

ISBN 9780367077259
Published May 26, 2020 by Routledge
280 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

A unique blend of theory and practice within the world of group psychotherapy, this text discusses diversity issues in group contexts within the realm of teaching, consulting, and facilitating psychotherapy groups.

Chapters present a unique perspective on diversity issues within certain populations, such as prisoners, elite athletes, and high-risk youth, and examine questions around race, language, ability, gender, and the similarities and differences between the leader and their clients. Such examples provide an intricate look into the psychological dynamics that arise within these populations and the skill of group therapists in honoring their clients’ humanity.

Readers will appreciate the practical examples of how to navigate difficult dynamics such as microaggressions and the role of compassion as a foundational principle of practice for group therapists.

Table of Contents

Section I: Foundations of Practice

Chapter 1: Intersectionality, Social Identity and Groups Examined

Chapter 2: The Shadows of Liberty: Compassion Practice as a Shared Responsibility

Section II: Social Identities in Group Psychotherapy

Chapter 3: Gender Identity in Group

Chapter 4: Chronic Health Conditions/Ability Issues in Group

Chapter 5: Inclusivity of Multiple Identities in Sexual Identity Based Therapy Groups in University and College Counseling Settings

Chapter 6: Social Identities Explored in Therapy Groups

Section III: Working with Specific Populations in Groups

Chapter 7: Athletic Identity: A House of Mirrors

Chapter 8: Prisoners in Group: Healing Processes at the Intersections of Race, Gender, and Age

Chapter 9: Managing Microaggressions within Veterans’ Psychotherapy Groups

Chapter 10: Group Art-Making Therapy for Mothers of Young Children

Section IV: Structural and Institutional Components of Groups

Chapter 11: Spirituality as a Resource in Group Psychotherapy

Chapter 12: Teaching Group within a Social Constructionist Framework

Chapter 13: Intersection of Race and Gender: Women of Color Leading Groups

Section V: International Perspectives in Group Psychotherapy

Chapter 14: A Social Intervention for Court-Ordered Adolescents – The Family: People Helping People Project

Chapter 15: Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy in the Context of Poverty and Gender: Toward a Culturally Sound Adaptation of IPT-G to Socioeconomically Disadvantaged and Depressed Lebanese Women

Section VI: Other Perspectives and Endings

Chapter 16: Wheelbarrows: Outing Myself

Chapter 17: Closing Thoughts

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Michele D. Ribeiro is a licensed psychologist and certified group psychotherapist at Oregon State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services. She is co-editor of The College Counselor’s Guide to Group Psychotherapy and a Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association.


First Back Cover Endorsement:

"I have been teaching group therapy for over 20 years and have looked for readings that addresses privilege, oppression, and diversity in group treatment. I am thrilled that I now have a book to use in my group therapy course. Michele Ribeiro invites 22 diverse experts in the field to educate group therapy leaders on microaggressions, intersectionality, and group process. Each of the 16 chapters facilitates a deeper understanding of how leaders can be sensitive to the multiple identities within each member and within each group. The chapters apply group therapy to patients struggling with poverty or chronic illness, elite athletes, college students, veterans, and families. Regardless of the topic, the different authors give wonderful clinical examples and direct recommendations on how leaders can intervene with compassion and sensitivity. They remind us of the importance of members’ multiple identities, histories, cultures, and the current social climate as we create safety within groups and opportunities for change."

Cheri Marmarosh, PhD, President for the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy (APA Division 49); Associate Professor in the Professional Psychology Program at the George Washington University, Fellow of the American Psychology Association, Lead Author of Attaching in Group Psychotherapy; Groups: Facilitating a Culture of Change, and Editor of Attachment in Group Psychotherapy, A Collection of Articles from the Special Edition of the International Journal of Group Psychotherapy


Second Back Cover Endorsement

"Conceivably intended for Group Therapy, this book transcends the boundaries and catapults you on a shockingly real anthropological, sociological, sexological journey! While keeping you securely fastened in the comfort of your psychological underpinnings, it gently drops you off at the intersection of social identities and diversity issues in groups. Through lived experiences, research and practice-based evidence, this book will not only leave the clinician better-abled to run groups in therapy but will help the reader from any walk of life better understand and operate within the context of virtually any social group."

Nathaniel Granger, Jr., PsyD, Past President of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (APA Division 32) and Adjunct Professor at Saybrook University


Third Back Cover Endorsement

"Examining Social Identities and Diversity Issues in Group Therapy: Knocking at the Boundaries provides valuable foundational components, a wide range of resources, and specific strategies in applicable contexts to better serve a wide breath of group therapy participants. Grounded in social justice theory, the authors offer a variety of approaches to working with diverse groups of individuals and their intersecting identities. Concrete suggestions provide clear guidance for the practitioner and challenge group leaders to maintain an important position of self-reflection, privilege-checking, and learning while co-creating an open and inviting space for healing. This book also serves as a highly informative resource for people outside of the group therapy arena who want to expand their understanding and application of oppression theory, social group identity, and inclusion work with any team of people they engage. Overall, this collection offers valuable guidance centering social justice in the group therapy realm and will serve the mental health field and beyond in innumerable ways."

Kathy Obear, Ed.D., President, Center for Transformation & Change and Co-Founder, Social Justice Training Institute;  Author of Turn the Tide: Rise above Toxic, Difficult Situations in the Workplace; But I’m NOT Racist: Tools for Well-meaning Whites; and In it for the Long Haul: Overcoming Burnout and Passion Fatigue as Social Justice Change Agents 


Inside Book Endorsements

"Michele Ribeiro has put together a critical contribution that names and explores the intersectionality of reference group identities in group psychotherapy processes. I am not aware of any other book that provides such a comprehensive group therapy approach to interventions within diverse group contexts. Examining Social Identities and Diversity Issues in Group Therapy speaks to the experiences of veterans, mothers of young children, athletes, those who are incarcerated, adolescents involved with the court system, Lebanese women who suffer from depression, college and university students, and leadership among women of color. The intersectionality of reference group identities (e.g., ethnicity, religion, nationality, socioeconomic status, gender identity, chronic health and ability status, sexual identity, spirituality, power and privilege) within the context of group therapy are addressed in ways that extend our knowledge and its application. A must have resource for group therapists, supervisors, students, trainees, and anyone interested in group processes in the 21st century."

Caroline S. Clauss-Ehlers, Ph.D., ABPP; Chair, American Psychological Association Task Force on Re-envisioning the Multicultural Guidelines for the 21st Century; Associate Professor, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 

"Counseling centers cannot keep pace with the number of students seeking individual therapy on campus, which can lead to students not having access to timely services. While, many institutions struggle with underutilized group therapy programs for a variety of reasons, including not offering culturally relevant treatment. Group therapy programs work best when the groups match students’ specific cultural needs. This is why this book is ground breaking, forward thinking, timely, and culturally relevant; it incorporates a multicultural strength approach integrated throughout the chapters. Its practical application is written for group practitioners who are invested in taking their group therapy program to another level! This book will appeal to practitioners who want to serve all of their students from privileged or marginalized identities. I commend Ribeiro for devoting an entire book on the intersectionality of group psychotherapy."

Shari A. Robinson, Ph.D, Director, Psychological and Counseling Services; University of New Hampshire


"In the olden days we were surprised when they talked on topics of 'culture and personality.' Society was coming to grips with how we were treating each other. First wave was like Leonard Cohen’s light radiating through cracks in our own mindless, self-centered point of view. Edited volumes often had a dedicated chapter or section addressing diversity, social justice and privilege. We now know that diversity is diversely deconstructive to all our points of view and the best we can do is strive to mentalize, come to grips and adhere to our best practices. Here is an edited volume with accounts of self and other relating to the tasks of group psychotherapy and rooted in the struggle to make sense, compassion and engagement central to the healing endeavor. Ribeiro has woven together a panoply of chapters that embody and encourage our desire to see more of what is going on and how we facilitate that process." 

Joshua M. Gross, Ph.D., ABPP, CGP, FAGPA, FAAGP, President Elect for the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy (APA Division 49); Director of Group Programs, The University Counseling Center, Florida State University; Co-Editor of The College Counseling Guide to Group Psychotherapy