Authentic Connections Groups
Suniya S. Luthar, Ph.D.
Foundation Professor of Psychology, ASU; Professor Emerita, Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Authentic Connections Groups (ACG) is a supportive, structured intervention, originally developed to reduce burnout and foster resilience among mothers contending with high, ongoing everyday stress . Based in over 30 years of science, the program was developed with recognition that women must receive ongoing “mothering” themselves to function effectively across their multiple life roles. ACG is a time-limited intervention, entailing 12 weekly sessions of one hour each, with groups of 5-6 women. The program works by enhancing and then crystallizing warmth, genuineness, and kindness in the participants’ close personal relationships – both with other women in the group, and with their respective “go-to” people in their everyday lives. A trained and supervised facilitator – herself warm and highly empathic – leads group discussions based on session outlines that are detailed in a manual. Topics address various critical aspects of women’s close relationships, ranging from obstacles to connecting authentically and minimizing rumination to fostering self-compassion, assertiveness and mentorship in the workplace, and “good enough” mothering. The program was first tested in a randomized trial of health care providers who are mothers at the Mayo Clinic, AZ; subsequently, other groups have been successfully run for military mothers at ASU and advisors/ counselors in prestigious, high-stress schools, and with appropriate modifications, also for clinical psychology graduate students and women studying STEM disciplines at ASU.
Luthar, S.S., Curlee, A., Tye, S.J., Engelman, J.C., &. Stonnington, C. M. (2017). Fostering resilience among mothers under stress: “Authentic Connections Groups” for medical professionals. Women’s Health Issues. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2017.02.007
Luthar, S.S., & Eisenberg, N. (2017). Resilient adaptation among at-risk children: Harnessing science toward maximizing salutary environments. Child Development, 88, 337–349. DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12737
Luthar, S. S. (2017). Doing for the greater good: What price, in academe? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12, 1153-1158. DOI10.1177/1745691617727863.
Ciciolla, L., Curlee, A., & Luthar, S. S. (2017). What women want: Employment preference and adjustment among mothers. Journal of Family and Economic Issues. Online first: DOI 10.1007/s10834-017-9534-7.
Infurna, F. J., & Luthar, S. S. (2017). Parent’s adjustment following the death of their child: Resilience is multidimensional and differs across outcomes examined. Journal of Personality, 68, 38-53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2017.04.004
Infurna, F.J. & Luthar, S. S. (2017). The multidimensional nature of resilience to spousal loss. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 112, 926-947. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000095
Luthar, S.S., & Ciciolla, L. (2016). Who mothers Mommy? Factors that contribute to mothers’ well-being. Developmental Psychology, 51, 1812-1823.http://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/dev00000
Infurna, F.J., & Luthar, S.S. (2016). Resilience to major life stressors is not as common as thought. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 175 –194. DOI: 10.1177/1745691615621271
Luthar, S. S., Crossman, E. J., & Small, P. J. (2015). Resilience and adversity. In R.M. Lerner and M. E. Lamb (Eds.). Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science (7th Edition, Vol. III, pp. 247-286). New York: Wiley.
Luthar, S.S. (2015). Mothering mothers. Research in Human Development. 12, 295–303. doi: 10.1080/15427609.2015.1068045
Luthar, S. S., Suchman, N. E., & Altomare, M. (2007). Relational Psychotherapy Mothers Group: A randomized clinical trial for substance abusing mothers. Development and Psychopathology, 19, 243-261. PMCID: PMC2190295
Luthar, S. S., & Suchman, N. E. (2000). Relational Psychotherapy Mothers’ Group: A developmentally informed intervention for at-risk mothers. Development and Psychopathology, 12, 235-253.
Principal Investigator: “Authentic Connections”: Fostering resilience among mothers in their community and work settings. Three-month manualized support groups for at-risk mothers. Grant from the Rodel Foundation; dates: 09/22/2015 – 09/21/2018; costs: $100,000.
Principal Investigator: “Fostering resilience: An intervention for women physicians at risk for burnout”. Piloting a three-month manualized intervention for physicians at the Mayo Clinic. ASU Seed Grant; 01/01/2015- 09/01/2016; costs: $100,000.
Principal Investigator: “Maternal Drug Abuse, Psychopathology, and Child Adaptation”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2 R01 DA010726-12); dates: 09/30/2007 – 05/31/2012; costs: $2,785,648.
Principal Investigator: “Maternal Drug Abuse, Psychopathology, and Child Adaptation”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (RO1DA10726–07); dates: 04/01/2002 – 03/01/2007; costs: $1,933, 415.
Principal Investigator: “Substance Abuse Among Suburban Youth: A Prospective Study”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA014385-06); dates: 06/16/2008 – 01/31/2014; costs: $1,959,684.
Principal Investigator: “Substance Abuse Among Suburban Youth: A Prospective Study”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA014385-01); dates: 02/01/2003 – 01/31/2008; costs: $1,262,126.
Principal Investigator: Family Research Consortium – V. National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, OBSSR; (R13 MH082592-01); Dates: May 01, 2008 – April 30, 2011; Costs $2,111,090
Principal Investigator: “Relational Parenting Therapy for Opioid Abusing Mothers”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (RO1–DA11498); dates: 01/01/1998 – 11/30/2002; costs: $2,226,520.
Principal Investigator: "Relational Psychotherapy Parenting for addicted mothers". Component grant within the "Psychotherapy Development for Cocaine and Opioid Abuse" Center funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Center PI: Bruce Rounsaville, M.D. (P50–DA09241); dates: 09/01/1994 – 08/31/1997; costs: $401, 628.
Co-Investigator: "Parenting stress in opioid dependent women and the developmental competence of their children: A study of treatment needs". Component grant within the "Psychotherapy Development for Cocaine and Opioid Abuse" Center funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse; PI: Bruce Rounsaville, M.D. (P50–DA09241); dates: 09/01/1994 – 08/01/1996; costs: $11,862.
Research Scientist Development Award (K21) from National Institute on Drug Abuse (K21–DA00202); dates: 08/01/1993 – 07/31/1998; costs: $574,066.
 Since its introduction at the Mayo Clinic, AZ in 2015, ACG groups have been ongoing there with six sets completed, and more planned for Spring, 2018. Ongoing monthly booster sessions are now planned for those who completed groups.