Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation in Psychology Training: Building Social Justice Competencies and Group Work Skills

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Abstract

Although a growing body of research suggests that participation in intergroup dialogue is associated with a wide variety of positive outcomes, much less research has examined the experiences and outcomes of those who facilitate these dialogues. Therefore, using a modified grounded theory approach, we sought to examine the experiences of 10 doctoral students in counseling psychology who facilitated intergroup dialogue groups as a component of their graduate education under a scientist-practitioner-advocate training model. We were specifically interested in determining if and how this training experience related to their development of multicultural and social justice competencies in group work and beyond. Analysis of interview data revealed the following themes related to the students’ experiences facilitating intergroup dialogues: Impactful Prior Experiences, Emotional Engagement, Challenges in Trainee Development, Social Resources, Group Facilitator Development, Critical Consciousness Development, and Positive Outcomes. To help construct meaning from the themes that emerged, we discuss these themes in relation to multicultural and social justice principles and the literature on group theory and practice. Implications for education and training of psychology doctoral students are discussed.

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