Consultant Training Program - A. K. Rice Institute

A. K. RICE INSTITUTE
for the Study of Social Systems 

January 2022

Training and Certification Program

INTRODUCTION

Encountering group relations thinking and methodology can be a powerful and illuminating experience.    The goal of the AKRI Training and Certification Program (T&C) is to increase learning about the theory and practice of systems psychodynamic thinking by helping participants deepen their understanding of systems psychodynamics and how they are manifested in groups, organizations, and communities.

AKRI established the T&C Committee for two main purposes:

  1. Enhancing learning about the systems psychodynamic perspective to understand and relate to group, organizational, and community dynamics. 
  2. Developing the ability to apply this perspective effectively in the range of roles and systems in which trainees participate, including group relations conferences. 

By completing the program, participants will be eligible to serve as consulting staff in AKRI sponsored conferences, and they will be prepared to take up staff roles in the wide range of conferences presented by other group relations organizations.  In addition, the conceptual framework and skills developed through the program will increase participants’ effectiveness more broadly, enabling them to take up the consultative stance in a wide variety of work roles and systems.  This is excellent preparation for understanding and providing leadership in groups and organizations of all kinds. 

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION  

The program is comprised of three developmental phases, each with a distinctive focus:

Phase I:

Why does the applicant want to develop these skills and perspectives? 

Phase II:

Deepening knowledge of groups, organizations, and social systems from a systems psychodynamic perspective.

Phase III:

Practice of the craft of consulting and developing the ability to draw on the consultative stance.

To complete each phase, individuals submit a written narrative that describes their experiences and reflections based on a set of questions pertaining to each phase of development.  Applicants will receive a written response from the Training and Certification Committee.  When requests to move to the next phase are not accepted, participants will be given recommendations if they would like to re-submit.

NOTE:  Prior to final certification, trainees are required to have attended at least one residential group relations conference as a member.  This can be done at any time before or during their participation in the program. 

Several capabilities are an important foundation for applying systems psychodynamics more broadly and/or for consulting to group relations conferences; the T&C Committee will consider in reviewing requests for advancement in the program:

 

Phase I:

Why Do I Want to Enter the Program?

To enter the program, applicants respond to a set of questions – in first person narrative format –pertaining to their interest in the development offered by the T&C Program.  These questions can be found in the “Training” tab of the AKRI website,  www.akriceinstitute.org under the heading “Initial Application.”

In addition to the written statement, applicants:

  • Are AKRI members.
  • Have attended at least three group relations conference experiences, including two as a member. The third can involve a variety of experiences in addition to membership, such as:  participating in GRC’s in a non-member role (such as administrator or staff consultant), related coursework, or other group relations training events.  The third experience can be either in-person or online. 
  • Provide two letters of recommendation from professional colleagues who are knowledgeable about group relations, at least one of whom is an AKRI member.  Recommendations from senior members of other group relations organizations may be substituted.
  • Submit the first $300 payment.

Upon acceptance:

  • A liaison from the T&C Committee will be assigned to serve as a link and point of communication with the committee throughout each trainee’s participation in the program.
  • Each trainee establishes a relationship with an AKRI mentor.  The mentor supports the trainee’s learning and development throughout the program.  A list of current mentors can be found on the website under the “Training” tab.  (Sometimes people have become AKRI mentors for the specific purpose of supporting the learning of a particular trainee.) The trainee’s liaison also serves as a link to the committee for the mentor.
  • Participants receive a complete set of Group Relations Readers as well as links to two required webinars. These materials offer a basic grounding in the theory, history, and literature of the Tavistock tradition of systems psychodynamic thinking.
  • A second $300 fee payment is due.   

Phase II:

Systems Psychodynamic Thinking

This phase is designed to deepen participants’ learning about groups, organizations, social systems, and larger societal dynamics from a systems psychodynamic point of view. 

Participants are invited to draw on whatever experiences – whether within group relations conferences (in-person or online) or from elsewhere – have helped them understand how these ideas and dynamics have manifested themselves in their direct experiences.

To complete this phase, participants:

  • Submit a response – in first person narrative format – to questions pertaining to systems psychodynamics concepts and practices.  These questions can be found in the “Training” tab of the AKRI website under the heading “Request for Advancement to Consultant Candidacy”. 
  • Provide a list of learning activities (for example: conferences, training events, study groups, classes, webinars, and related events) since entering the program.
  • Submit a third payment of $300.
  • Provide a statement of support from their mentor endorsing readiness to work in a consulting role. 

Phase III:

Group Relations Consulting and the Consultative Stance

This phase focuses on the craft of consulting itself, including an understanding of how group relations conferences are structured and managed.

The central component of this phase involves participating in two in-person AKRI sponsored or co-sponsored conferences in the role of consultant candidate.  Trainees invited to consult at non-AKRI sponsored group relations conferences may request to have them considered as one of their conferences for certification purposes. That request, which must be accompanied by a conference brochure, is submitted in writing to the T&C Committee ([email protected]) at least two months before the conference begins.

To qualify for the T&C program: 

  • The conference director must provide an in-conference mentor and schedule meeting times devoted to helping the trainee reflect on conference experience. 
  • The director or designee provides a brief report (Conference Director’s Report) describing the trainee’s performance and learning needs. 

(NOTE:  Consultant candidates are limited to three such opportunities without prior approval from the T&C Committee.)

To complete Phase III:

  • The final narrative statement – again in first person narrative format - is submitted, focusing on the craft of consulting.  The questions for this can be found in the “Training” tab of the AKRI website under the heading “Request for Certification.”
  • Provide a list of learning activities (for example: conferences, training events, study groups, classes, webinars, and related events) since advancing to consultant candidacy.
  • A final fee of $300 is paid.
  • Ensure that a statement from the trainee's mentor supporting certification is provided. 

 

FAST TRACK APPLICATION

Fast Track is an expedited option that recognizes that some applicants to the Training and Certification Program have already had more than the minimum required experience with group relations learning and activities. To apply for Fast Track, applicants:

  • Submit the narratives pertaining to the Initial Application and those for the Request for Advancement to Consultant Candidacy simultaneously.
  • Obtain two letters of recommendation from professional colleagues knowledgeable about group relations, at least one of whom must be an AKRI member. A recommendation from a senior member of another group relations organization may be an acceptable substitute.
  • Submit a payment of $300 with the application. 

Upon acceptance:

  • The trainee will establish a relationship with an AKRI mentor who will support the trainee’s learning and development.    Mentors must be chosen from a list of current mentors which can be found on the website under the “Training” tab. (Sometimes people have become AKRI mentors for the specific purpose of supporting the learning of a particular trainee.)
  • Before formal acceptance/designation as a Consultant Candidate, the trainee will need a statement of readiness from the mentor.
  • Upon acceptance, trainees will receive a complete set of Group Relations Readers and links to two webinars. These materials offer a basic grounding in the theory, history, and literature of group relations consultation in the Tavistock tradition, as well as an opportunity to observe and consider group dynamics in a small study group within a conference.
  • A second fee of $300 is due upon acceptance to the Fast Track.   

 

DIRECT CERTIFICATION

Those who have extensive experience as a GRC staff consultant in multiple conferences and in senior leadership roles (director, associate director, and/or team leader) may apply for immediate acceptance as an AKRI-certified consultant.

To apply for Direct Certification, applicants:

  • Provide a detailed description of their group relations experience and two letters in support of immediate certification from AKRI members who are certified consultants. Letters from senior members of other GR organizations may be substituted.
  • Submit a fee of $100.

 

APPLYING TO THE PROGRAM

 Please note: The A.K. Rice Institute (AKRI) is in the process of making changes to the Training and Certification Program. During this time, AKRI is not accepting new applicants to the Program.

Application forms can be downloaded at www.akriceinstitute.org in the “Training” tab Please feel free to contact the T&C Committee at [email protected] with any questions.

The payment of fees can be completed online at www.akriceinstitute.org, in the “Training” tab of the website. Your required AKRI membership dues can be paid in the “Membership” section.