(Last approved on May 2022)
ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of the organization is the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes (IAGP). IAGP is a professional, incorporated, non-profit Association, registered under the number CHE-110.173.396, according to Swiss Civil Code Article 60 ff., in the Commercial Register of the Kanton Thurgau, Kreuzlingen, Switzerland.
ARTICLE II – PURPOSE
A. The purpose of the Association is to promote the collaboration and sharing of ideas and practices across different cultures, disciplines and methodologies and the international development of group psychotherapy and group processes as applied to:
The Association realizes its purpose as a non-profit organization
B. The purpose as stated in A. will be applied within a framework of the values and conditions of the United Nations’ Charter of Human Rights, applied with the aim of strengthening egalitarian and democratic developments in social welfare and health care internationally, throughout the world
ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP
a. individual membership
b. organizational (affiliate) membership.
INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP – ELIGIBILITY
Individual membership is available to professionals and students involved in the practice, teaching, studying or research of group psychotherapy and/or group processes, whose application for membership has been approved by the Membership Committee.
AFFILIATE MEMBERSHIP – ELIGIBILITY
Affiliate membership is available to organizations working professionally in the field of group psychotherapy and/or group processes, whose application for Membership has been approved by the Membership Committee.
Members of IAGP’s affiliate organizations, including their IAGP representatives, do not become individual IAGP members. They may apply for individual IAGP membership and pay for individual IAGP membership separately in order to obtain benefits of individual IAGP membership.
Individual and affiliate membership of IAGP is not a credential or evidence of professional competence.
ARTICLE IV – FEES AND CONTINUITY OF MEMBERSHIP –
The Board of Directors determines individual and organizational membership criteria and fees, which may include different levels as set out in the Policies and Procedures Manual (P&P): these may be revised periodically to remain consistent with the purpose and financial circumstances of the Association.
Continuity of membership and payment of fees are according to the criteria as set out in the Policies and Procedures (P&P) of the Association.
Issues related to membership are the specific responsibility of the Membership Committee and the Consultative Assembly of Organizational Affiliates (CAOA) who are accountable to the Board. Such issues are defined and regulated in the P&P.
ARTICLE V – MAIN LEVELS OF ORGANISATION OF IAGP –
Governance of the Association is assured by the following structures and processes.
1. The General Assembly of Members (GA) elects members of the Board, specific executive roles, the Chair and the members of the Ethics and Professional Standards Committee (EthC), the Chair of CAOA and the Sections chairs. It holds the Board accountable for its running of the Association, in relation to its purpose and finances. It votes on Bylaws changes
2. The Board of Directors’ (BoD) mandate is to navigate and ensure that IAGP is reaching its goals, accomplishing its mission, and pursuing strategies of the institution. The Board organizes IAGP work and affairs between GA meetings.
It oversees the activity of each organizational unit and appoints the Chairs of the Committees who are not directly elected by the General Assembly.
There are a maximum of 27 Board members, all of whom have a single vote on the Board.
The Board of Directors meets at least twice a year, face to face and/or virtually. It can, in addition, also hold additional meetings as determined necessary by the majority of the Board.
Former Presidents are invited to join the Board meetings as non-voting participants.
3. Members of the Executive Management Group (EMG) are Board members. EMG consists of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary, the Treasurer and the Chair of the Consultative Assembly of Organizational Affiliates (CAOA). The EMG has the responsibility for the ongoing, day to day running of the organization. The EMG is accountable to the Board and has a duty to keep the Board informed of its discussions and decisions and to consult with the Board for input and approval of such decisions.
The EMG checks and integrates the results of the different IAGP committees/groups and offers support, as appropriate for the work of those groups.
4. The Committees, with their chairpersons and committee members, accomplish specific goals of the organization, as specified in Article XI and in the P&P.
5. The Sections, with their respective chairpersons and Coordinating Committees, as specified in Article XII, develop specific tasks, accomplish distinctive objectives, propose innovation and improvements of the scope of IAGP.
ARTICLE VI – POSTS IN THE EMG AND THE AUDITOR
1) The President, the Vice President, the Secretary, the Treasurer and the CAOA Chair are all full voting members of the Board of Directors and constitute, together, the Executive Management Group (EMG) of the Board.
1. The President is the Executive Official of the IAGP and chairs Board meetings and EMG meetings, unless there is a meeting or a specific issue that requires an independent chairperson, such as obvious risks from conflicts of interest, according to Article IX. The President leads and promotes the ongoing work of the Association on behalf of its members, in cooperation with the EMG. When votes are tied, during decision-making of the Board or the EMG, the President or the substitute Chairperson has the casting Vote.
2. The Vice President stands in as Acting President, upon decision by the EMG, during any absence of the President that prevents him/her from performing his/her duties. If the President becomes indefinitely absent from and/or not able to undertake the responsibilites of the Office, the Board of Directors appoints the Vice President as the Interim President for the remainder of the current term or until a vote by the GA.
3. The Secretary shall keep the records of the association and be responsible for the framework of communications and its maintenance. This task includes updating and making available for all eligible members the online archives as specified in the P&P manual. He or she shall perform other duties as assigned by the Board and/or the EMG.
4. The Treasurer shall have the custody of IAGP’s funds and maintain full and adequate records of all transactions, which include the collection of membership dues and the disbursement of funds. These records are updated daily and available for inspection as required by EMG members, Board’s of Directors, the Auditor and also for inspection in accordance with IAGP Non-profit Status under the Swiss Civil Code. A major responsibility is to present an up-to-date budget and finance report for each board meeting. He/she has also the responsibilty to ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place to safeguard IAGP funds and their effective disbursement, in relation to the IAGP mission and purpose and Board decisions.
5. The CAOA Chair has full voting rights in the EMG and represents the interests of the Affiliate members of IAGP. He/she can further take up some specific independent responsibilities as designated by the EMG or the Board.
2) The Auditor is responsible for checking the accounts and reports to the General Assembly. The Auditor is elected by the General Assembly. He/she can be a member of the Association but not of the Board. Special requirements apply for the position of the Auditor of the organisation, as outlined in the P&P.
He/she must work closely with the Treasurer to check that book-keeping and budget management are performed in accordance with IAGP’s non-profit Status under the Swiss Civil Code.
ARTICLE VII – CONTINUITY AND INNOVATION CLAUSE
Any individual member of IAGP is eligible for election to the Board, to the Ethics and Professional Standards Committee, to the Auditor’s position, and to CAOA’s chair. The General Assembly elects the candidates for these positions for one term.
Specific requirements apply for the members of the EMG.
Conditions for elections and re-elections of the above positions
1. To promote a diverse democratically elected Board, all individual IAGP members are eligible for election to the board. There should ideally be more than one candidate for each individual post. The candidates shall represent, as far as possible, the diversity of the IAGP membership. The term of office for all positions on the Board is three years. Individual re-election is required to serve additional terms.
2. To promote continuity and experienced leadership, candidates for all positions on the EMG including the CAOA Chair are required to have prior Board experience within the last three terms.
3. To promote innovation and maximise opportunities on the Board, no person may serve as President for two consecutive terms. Board members may serve for a maximum number of two consecutive terms, apart from the circumstances in Article VII-4, when standing for a third consecutive term is permitted in some cases. After the maximum uninterrupted tenure of two/three terms, a Board member may not stand for any Board position until a one term interval has elapsed.
4. To promote continuity, if fewer than 50% of current Board members are eligible to stand again in a particular election, all Board members who have already served for two consecutive terms may stand for a third term only.
When a position elected by the GA becomes vacant during a term, the Board can appoint an Interim Chair/Role after consultation with the Nominating Committee (NC). Also, when an appointed position becomes vacant during a term, the Board can appoint a new Chair after consultation with the Nominating Committee.
ARTICLE VIII – MEETINGS & DECISION MAKING
1) Meetings of the EMG, the Board of Directors, the Committees, and the Sections as well as the GA’s meetings and elections, take place either face-to-face and/or virtually.
2) In order to make binding decisions official, meetings must comply with a quorum, defined as per the P&P manual. It is the responsibility of the EMG to ascertain that the quorum is reached.
3) Proxy voting by absent members with full voting rights may be used to reach the quorum.
4) Formal decisions that stem from voting procedures are valid provided that written information, needed for proper conduct of a decision, is sent out through the official channels in the appropriate time, as per the P&P manual.
5) Each individual member has the right to participate and vote in IAGP assemblies, provided that they have fully paid their dues. The designated representative of an Affiliate organization has voting rights provided that the organizational membership fees have been fully paid.
ARTICLE IX – DUTY OF INFORMATION –
As a democratic Association serving professionals of many different languages, IAGP recognizes that the best decisions are supported by easily accessible, manageable streams of relevant information (“Less is more”), distributed via clearly defined communication channels at all levels of the organization.
The Policies and Procedures (P&P) manual provides concrete binding guidelines for balancing such transparency and openness with:
1– limited, and possibly temporary confidentiality arrangements for highly sensitive situations
2– appropriate safeguards for individual privacy
3– legal requirements for data protection and reporting
ARTICLE X – RISK OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST DURING DECISION-MAKING
In addition to the precise application of the Swiss Civil Code Article 68 section 1, the following must also apply:
1-If a member of a decision making assembly of the IAGP can be expected to have a greater than negligible personal gain from a decision about a specific issue – or if a close relative or significant other, or close friend or associate can gain similarly – then that member shall not take any active participation in negotiations or voting about that issue. The same restriction shall be applied to anybody chairing the meeting.
2-It is a member’s or officer’s responsibility to declare a possible conflict of interest
ARTICLE XI – COMMITTEES XI – STANDING CO
Appointments of Committee chairs and members are made by the Board of Directors after proposals from the President and the EMG, unless otherwise specified.
If vacancies occur between meetings of the Board, they will be filled, upon suggestions from the President, and by appointment by the EMG, informing the Board within four weeks. If vacancies among the Chairpersons of the Nominating Committee, the Government and Bylaws Committee or the Ethics and Professional Standards Committee occur between GA meetings, they will be filled for the rest of the mandate period upon suggestions from the EMG, by appointment from the Board, reported to the GA membership within four weeks.
A. NOMINATING COMMITTEE, (NC)
The NC, based on information concerning vacancies to be filled in the next election, will:
1- prepare a list of candidates for the Official Leading Posts (EMG, Section Chairs, Ethics Committee, Auditor) and Board of Directors.
2- to the extent possible, seek out a wide array of nominations representative of countries, regions, cultures and specialties of group psychotherapy and group process,
3- strive to find more than one candidate for each vacancy
4- forward this list to the outgoing Board of Directors for their review and approval by majority vote.
The list of candidates will, upon approval, be presented by the Board to the membership no less than four weeks before the election.
The NC chairperson is elected by the Board of Directors. The elected Chairperson, in consultation with the Board, selects at least four committee members, all having been members of IAGP for at least one term.
B. GOVERNANCE AND BYLAWS COMMITTEE, (G&BC)
The G&BC committee’s main tasks are:
1- the study, review and application of the Bylaws,
2-to formulate and review binding procedures and rules regarding decision making, voting and other effects of the Bylaws
3- review and analyze the background of ongoing dynamics and other developmental processes in the Association
The Committee has a Chairperson, who is elected by the Board of Directors, in consultation with the NC. The G&BC committee shall have at least four more members, chosen by the G&BC chairperson, in consultation with the Board.
The G&BC chairperson, or a member of the committee, may also act as Parliamentarian, supervising rules of order of discussion and voting at Board meetings, upon the call of the President or the presiding Board member.
C. ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS COMMITTEE, (EthC).
The task of the Ethics Committee is to promote the development of and respect for ethical behavior in IAGP endeavors and government. Specifically:
1-To consider complaints and ethical issues brought to its attention;
2-To recommend ethical statements and other actions for the EMG.
3-To develop and update the IAGP Ethical Guidelines and Professional Practices for Group Psychotherapy and Ethical guidelines for Organizational and Group Process Consultations.
4-The EthC reports on its general, overall work at the General Assembly, but makes recommendations, in specific cases or issues, to the Board of Directors, always applying confidentiality rules as per Article IX
The Committee shall have one Chairperson plus two committee members, all three elected by the General Assembly in ordinary elections for IAGP administration. All three shall be highly experienced professionals, members of IAGP for more than three years. In actual, specific, cases of complaints the EthC can appoint more members with special competence – be they legal, methodological, or cultural etcetera – relating to needs arising from the case being worked with.
D. CONSULTATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ORGANIZATIONAL AFFILIATES (CAOA)
The CAOA comprises representatives of paid-up affiliate organizations (one per organization). Affiliate organizations choose their representative. A person may only be the official representative of one affiliate organization. When an affiliate organization’s official representative cannot attend a meeting, he/she may appoint someone else to attend and vote in his/her place.
E. AD HOC COMMITTEES
Can be appointed for certain, specified purposes by the EMG, informing the Board of its composition within four weeks. To acquire the status of ongoing committees, they must be approved by the Board, according to procedures and scopes stated in the P&P manual.
The list of all existing committees with their tasks and responsibilities is in the P&P Manual.
ARTICLE XII – SECTIONS AND TASK FORCES
In addition to the four Standing Committees, the IAGP Board establishes Sections (to enable IAGP individual members to network in their fields) and Task Forces (to facilitate IAGP’s operations).
IAGP’s Sections are based on broad areas of specialized professional interest. Creation of a Section requires an application supported by at least 40 paid up individual IAGP members. The Chairperson of each Section is elected as such by the General Assembly and automatically becomes a Board member. Sections’ Chairs must select a Coordinating Committee.
2. TASK FORCES
Task Forces (temporary or continuing workgroups) are created to coordinate different aspects of IAGP life, including education, events (face to face and online) and interventions according to geographical region and/or circumstances (e.g. disasters). The Chair of each Task Force is appointed by the Board, in consultation with the NC.
The continued viability of all Sections and Task Forces is assessed on an ongoing basis by the Board (using criteria and processes outlined in the P&P).
Current Sections and Task Forces are listed in the P&P Manual.
ARTICLE XIII – POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL (P&P)
In order to support and carry into real effect the IAGP Bylaws, the Board of Directors has the responsibility to:
a. Ensure that any and all appropriate directives and policies and procedures are in place and directly accessible to all IAGP member, as stated in the Bylaws.
b. Ensure that such directives and policies are reviewed regularly and are kept relevant for the work of the organization, its officers and members.
Board decisions in the form of policies, directives and procedures shall be kept together in a Policies and Procedures Manual (P&P). Specifically:
1-It is the responsibility of the G&B Committee to ensure that each P&P is coherent with the overall spirit of the Bylaws of IAGP and that includes reference to the relevant Articles it refers to.
2-It is the responsibility of the Vice President to ensure that new additions or revisions approved by the Board are included in the Manual and that are available for all IAGP members.
Proposals for new and revised P&P can be prepared and formulated either by any individual, Board member or working group (Committees, Sections, Task Forces) within IAGP. The G&BC must ensure that they comply with the Bylaws before being presented to the Board for final discussion and vote.
ARTICLE XIV– AMENDMENTS TO THE BYLAWS
The Bylaws may be amended by a vote at any General Assembly, provided that the appropriate procedures have been fulfilled (as per P&P).
ARTICLE XV – DEBTS, LIABILITIES AND LIQUIDATION
Individual and Affiliate members shall only be liable for IAGP’s debts and liabilities to the amount of their membership dues. Accordingly, for IAGP’s debts, IAGP’s assets shall be the only funds liable.
In the case of liquidation of IAGP, the remaining assets will be transferred to a tax-exempt charitable organization with similar goals.
It is mandatory for the Treasurer to take out a legal liability insurance policy for the whole Board of IAGP and ensure that it is always renewed.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND QUESTIONS
Queries and comments about the above By-Laws should be sent to the Chair of the Governance and Bylaws Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org