impossible_groups400x300MAGPS is pleased to announce the Spring 2016 Conference, “Impossible Groups: Absorbing a New Paradigm for Group Therapy?” to be held April 9-10, 2016 at Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC.

I have had the privilege of having conversations with our plenary speaker, Haim Weinberg, PhD. His curiosity, care and commitment to effective and meaningful group psychotherapy is a cornerstone of the spring conference’s topic: Impossible Groups.

haimphotoAccording to Dr. Weinberg, “All group therapy textbooks emphasize the importance of the setting for a successful outcome of the group. This setting includes clear boundaries of time and space, stable participation, and good leadership. For example, in order to create a safe environment in which participants can work on deep issues, the leader is recommended to keep the boundaries. In addition, for its normal development and progress, the group is expected to go through a stormy stage with disagreements and conflicts.”

Dr. Weinberg tells me his presentation will highlight groups that do not follow such “rules”, linking their success to the “secure presence of the leader and the imagined internalized group” that the members create. These groups include demonstration groups; American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) Institutes; groups where members do not attend regular meetings; non-western groups “where the culture does not allow for a stormy stage”; and Internet groups “where the boundaries are incredibly loose.” Surprisingly the members are still able to work on deep levels, create intimate relationships, and benefit from the group.

How is this possible? Should we change our theories?

These are important questions to ponder and valuable concepts to absorb as group psychotherapists in our work. As clinicians and group leaders we need to be willing to attend to the needs of our patient population, remain aware of our changing world, and still hold the principles of effective, meaningful, relational and boundaried group psychotherapy. Dr. Weinberg’s knowledge and vast experience will undoubtedly help guide attendees in this journey.

MAGPS is excited to present this conference where attendees will have the opportunity to experience plenary talks and observational group experiences led by Dr. Weinberg. In addition, small groups facilitated by a seasoned and skilled set of leaders will meet during the conference. This will allow time for the groups to develop while exploring the themes of the conference, as well as group dynamics.

Haim Weinberg, PhD. is a licensed psychologist, group analyst and Certified Group Psychotherapist in private practice in Sacramento, California. He is the past President of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy and of the Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society. Currently, Dr. Weinberg is the owner of the Group Psychotherapy Professional Online Discussion Forum and the Academic Vice President of the Professional School of Psychology — where he created and coordinates an online doctoral program on group psychotherapy. Dr. Weinberg is author of the book The Paradox of Internet Groups: Alone in the Presence of Virtual Others. He has also co-edited a series of books about the social unconscious, including Social Unconscious in Persons, Groups, and Societies. Dr. Weinberg is author of the book The Paradox of Internet Groups: Alone in the Presence of Virtual Others.

MAGPS is excited to present and offer this conference to their members – to be exposed and explore the topic at hand in a variety of modalities. Please join us on this journey of curiosity, growth, and knowledge.

To register and additional conference information, please visit our website at: www.magps.org/conferences/conferences.html.