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Sarah Brazaitis

Professional Background

Educational Background

  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania
  • Ph.D., Teachers College, Columbia University

Scholarly Interests

  • Group dynamics and group relations
  • Social identities in groups and teams
  • High performing teams

Selected Publications

Brazaitis, S. J. (in press). Group Relations and conflict resolution. In M. Deutsch, P. T. Coleman, & Marcus, E.C. (Eds.), The Handbook of Conflict Resolution, 3rd Ed. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Deutsch, M., Marcus, E. C., & Brazaitis, S. J. (2012). A framework for thinking about developing a global community. In P. T. Coleman (Ed.), The psychological components of a sustainable peace. New York: Springer.

Gushue, G.V., Greenan, D.E. & Brazaitis, S.J. (2005). Using the multicultural guidelines in couples and family counseling. In Constantine, M.G. and Sue, D.W. (Eds.) Strategies for Building Multicultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings. NY: Wiley.

Brazaitis, S.J. (2004). White women – Protectors of the Status quo, positioned to disrupt it. In S. Cytrynbaum and D. Noumair, (Eds.), Group Relations Reader 3 (pp. 99-116). Washington, D.C.: A.K. Rice Institute.

Brazaitis, S.J. & Gushue, G.V. (2004). Living on the moon –The case of a therapy group for people with AIDS. In S. Cytrynbaum and D. Noumair, (Eds.), Group Relations Reader 3 (pp. 359-378). Washington, D.C.: A.K. Rice Institute.    

Gushue, G.V & Brazaitis, S.J. (2003). Lazarus and group psychotherapy: AIDS in the era of protease inhibitors. The Counseling Psychologist, 31(3), 314-342. 

biographical information

SARAH J. BRAZAITIS, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer and MA Program Coordinator
Department of Organization and Leadership
Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Brazaitis received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and her masters and doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Brazaitis has been a member of the faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University since 1998 and is currently a Senior Lecturer and the MA Program Coordinator in the Social-Organizational Psychology Program.

Dr. Brazaitis currently teaches courses on group dynamics and improving team performance to masters- and doctoral-level students. As part of her group dynamics course, Dr. Brazaitis runs an experiential group relations conference (based on the Tavistock model of human relations training) that provides students with opportunities to learn in real time about covert processes affecting leadership and power in groups and organizations. Dr. Brazaitis has been on the consulting staff of numerous experiential group relations conferences, sponsored by the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI).  She is a Fellow of the A.K. Rice Institute and is a past member of AKRI’s Board of Directors

As an expert on group dynamics in social systems, Dr. Brazaitis has written articles and book chapters on conducting groups in education and health care settings.  Her dissertation focused on whiteness and subsequently she has written about race and more broadly on multicultural issues.  

Dr. Brazaitis maintains a private practice of organizational consulting with a focus on improving group and team performance, executive coaching, and leadership development.  Clients have included for profit and not-for-profit organizations, universities, and medical centers.  An aspect of her consulting practice includes Dr. Brazaitis’ extensive experience providing training in group dynamics and group process, maximizing team performance, leadership development, conflict resolution, and individual and group assessments (e.g. Myers-Briggs, FIRO-B, DiSC, Hogan, 360 degree feedback, etc.).

Prior to becoming a full-time academic, Dr. Brazaitis worked as a counseling psychologist at the New York Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Manhattan where she held the position of Director of Psychological Services in Primary Care.  Dr. Brazaitis was responsible for developing and implementing all primary care psychological services including assessment, education and treatment, in a setting serving 18,000 patients.  She also provided consultation and training in state-of-the-art behavioral healthcare for physicians and other medical providers and served as the hospital’s liaison between the mental health division and several general medical and specialty departments. Dr. Brazaitis also served as the Associate Director of Training for the hospital’s psychology internship program which enjoys a national reputation for excellence in training.

Dr. Brazaitis is a member of the American Psychological Association and is a licensed psychologist in the state of New York.

professional organization membership

American Psychological Association

A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems
  • Board Member (10/04 to 09/07)
  • Fellow (awarded 2008)

professional presentations

Brazaitis, S., Dorsey-Elson, L., Kennedy, D., & Strauss, B. (2013, September). Group Relations in Academia. Paper presented at the Dialogues Conference of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems, Chicago, IL.

Brazaitis, S., Cyntrynbaum, S., McRae, M., & Monroe, T. (2010, October). The AKRI/Academy Boundary: Past, Present and Future. Paper presented at the Symposium of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems, Chicago, IL.

Brazaitis, S. (2009, March). White women – Protectors of the Status quo, positioned to disrupt it. Paper presented at Multicultural Women’s Leadership Forum: Conversations among Women from Diverse Race/Ethnic, Religious, National Origin, Sexual Orientation, and Class Backgrounds, George Mason University, Fairfax VA.

Holvino, E., Brazaitis, S., and Petriglieri, G. (2006, April). What are we doing really? An exploration of theories of learning in group relations. Paper presented at The Forum of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems, Chicago, IL.

Gushue, G.V. and Brazaitis, S.J. (1999, August). Lazarus and group psychotherapy: AIDS in the era of protease. In E.F. Carter (Chair), Research in group interventions. Paper presented at the 107th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, New York, NY.

Brazaitis, S.J. (1996, August). Voices in black and white: Transforming feminist psychological research. In D.A. Noumair (Chair), From accommodation to transformation in feminist psychology: What White women have to say. Symposium presented at the 104th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.

Brazaitis, S.J. (1995, August). The psychological constructs of voice and silence across racial identities. In D.C. Jack (Chair), Self-silencing and Female Depression across Diverse Racial and Cultural Groups. Symposium presented at the 103rd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, New York, NY.

ORLJ 5017: Small group intervention: Theory and method

Prerequisite: ORL 5362. This course gives students an opportunity to develop a better understanding of the dynamics of small work groups and to learn intervention skills to improve group performance. The course covers relevant theory and research that underlies effective small group interventions. The class format will include lecture, discussion and in-class exercises.

ORL 5362: Group dynamics: A systems perspective

Enrollment limited. The course explores social processes in groups and their impact on individual behavior. In addition to a series of lectures/discussions, students are required to participate in an experiential group relations conference or to conduct a self-study project on group relations. Special fee.

Centers and Projects

Executive Education Programs in Change and Consultation
Website: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/leadchange/


Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership
Website: http://www.klingenstein.org

Full-year and Two-Summer master’s  programs and funded fellowships in leadership development for independent school educators. Programs serve early career teachers, mid-career administrators and heads of schools from a broad range of schools around the world.  All Klingenstein Center programs focus on instructional leadership, collaboration and teamwork, a commitment to social justice and diversity, and reflective practice.

Principles & Practices of Organization Development
Website: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/odprograms/


Sarah Brazaitis appeared in the following articles:

White Women, Read This: Race Trumps Gender (8/1/2006)