Cinema Series FAQ

  • Click on the blue tabs below to see information about the cinema series.
  • Movie dates, times, and trailers are below the FAQ box.
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  • MAGPS sponsors a cinema series, open to clinicians, spouses, & anyone interested in the application of psychological principles to our lives.
  • The mission of the series is to promote connection for MAGPS members between conferences, get the word out about our conferences, provide stimulating learning experiences on issues including, but not limited to, group, diversity, and ethics.
  • Each cinema series event includes a light dinner, a movie, and a lively discussion with a moderator.
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  • Light dinner: 5:45 PM - prepared by our own cinema series food committee (in context with the theme of the movie -- you will be surprised!)
  • Movie: 6:30 PM
Upcoming Presentations:  
  • 04/29/2017: Black Swan - Presenter: David Heilman, M.Psy.
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white-squareA $10 donation to cover the cost of food and drink is requested.

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white-square2.5 CEs (Continuing Education Credits) available for Professional Counselors, Clinical Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Psychologists for $25.white-square
white-squarePlease email cinema@magps.org and let us know how many will be attending white-square
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  • The home of Lorraine and Dan Wodiska
  • 6014 28th Street North, Arlington, VA 22207
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white-squareDisclosure of Commercial Support and the Unlabeled use of a commercial product. No member of the planning committee and no member of the faculty for this event have a financial interest or other relationship with any commercial product(s) discussed in this educational presentation.white-square

Cinema Series Presentations

Cinema Series Interview: “The Great Dictator”

Lenore Pomerance interviews Maryetta Andrews-Sachs and Bob Zeskind on presenting “The Great Dictator” for the MAGPS Cinema Series September 23, 2017 movie.

 

LMP: At our last movie, we talked about the new MAGPS theme of taking in the political, social and psychological challenges of today and reflecting our response to them in our educational programs.  Bob, you spontaneously thought of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” which was his spoof on Hitler.  Can you tell us a little of why that association came so spontaneously to your mind?

 

Maryetta and Bob: White racism has always been close under the surface – but rarely acknowledged.  It has clearly mushroomed, seemingly in response to the Obama Presidency.  It’s not a big stretch to think of Trump and the title of this movie.

 

LMP: That was last Spring. How have things changed or progressed since then?  I’m thinking about what the Nazis tapped into that is being tapped into in our country today? I guess we only have to look at what happened in Charlottesville!

 

M&B: It is what has been brought out by the campaign’s rhetoric that has led to the White Nationalists, Neo-Nazis, KKK, and supporters feeling more emboldened.  Before, there were coded messages, “dog whistles” reflecting these currents. Now they are being shouted in public squares, “Make America Great Again” is obviously Make America White Again.

 

LMP: As group therapists, we are on high alert for two important dynamics, scapegoating and paranoia of the other.  How does the movie reflect them, and the parallel in our society?

 

M&B: Clearly the movie is about Hitler’s persecution of the Jews and the creation of an Aryan race, i.e. White and blonde, which is certainly one of the major episodes of scapegoating and “othering.” Fear is the Father of Hate – and off we go.

 

LMP: What would you say about the bubble some of us feel we are living in?

 

M&B: It’s hard for any individual to recognize the bubble they live in.  How can the bubbles be popped so that we truly engage with each other and find our common interests?  What is involved in doing this, not just on an individual level, but on a community level?  Where do we begin?

 

LMP: Yes, those are just the questions we are posing to ourselves, and through our educational programs, attempt to come up with meaningful responses.   Does the movie show any opposition to Hitler, similar to ours here?

 

M&B: There are a few characters opposed to Hitler in the movie.  Others are either killed off – or passive.  Think of reactions to Senator Joseph McCarthy in our country.  How will each of us respond to further injustices here?

 

LMP: Exactly!  What do you want to say about Chaplin’s epilogue at the end of the movie?

 

M&B: He is calling us to the better angels of our nature!  If only every leader led with such messages. His words continue to be relevant, unfortunately.  Note that he is also asking soldiers to fight with the love of humanity in their hearts.

 

LMP: Yes.  This movie is uncanny in its relevance for us today.  I just finished watching the movie as well as a documentary on Chaplin’s life. He was a genius, and a very complex man, hated and loved.   He was hounded out of this country because of his perceived Russian communist sympathies, communist sympathizers being among the major scapegoats of the 1950s.   Yet he was humbly grateful to the motion picture academy that presented him with a lifetime achievement Oscar. In that documentary, his daughter said he was only granted a ten-day visa to attend the event.  She exhorted him not to go.  He replied that he was delighted saying, “You see, they are still afraid to me.”

 

Maryetta and Bob, thank you so much for kicking off our new 2017-2018 season with this movie. This will be a really rich experience for us all.

 

Be sure to RSVP to Lenore that you will be coming to the movie on September 23, 2017.

 

 

Cinema Series Archive

Cinema Series Interview: “The Great Dictator”

Lenore Pomerance interviews Maryetta Andrews-Sachs and Bob Zeskind on presenting “The Great Dictator” for the MAGPS Cinema Series September 23, 2017 movie.

 

LMP: At our last movie, we talked about the new MAGPS theme of taking in the political, social and psychological challenges of today and reflecting our response to them in our educational programs.  Bob, you spontaneously thought of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” which was his spoof on Hitler.  Can you tell us a little of why that association came so spontaneously to your mind?

 

Maryetta and Bob: White racism has always been close under the surface – but rarely acknowledged.  It has clearly mushroomed, seemingly in response to the Obama Presidency.  It’s not a big stretch to think of Trump and the title of this movie.

 

LMP: That was last Spring. How have things changed or progressed since then?  I’m thinking about what the Nazis tapped into that is being tapped into in our country today? I guess we only have to look at what happened in Charlottesville!

 

M&B: It is what has been brought out by the campaign’s rhetoric that has led to the White Nationalists, Neo-Nazis, KKK, and supporters feeling more emboldened.  Before, there were coded messages, “dog whistles” reflecting these currents. Now they are being shouted in public squares, “Make America Great Again” is obviously Make America White Again.

 

LMP: As group therapists, we are on high alert for two important dynamics, scapegoating and paranoia of the other.  How does the movie reflect them, and the parallel in our society?

 

M&B: Clearly the movie is about Hitler’s persecution of the Jews and the creation of an Aryan race, i.e. White and blonde, which is certainly one of the major episodes of scapegoating and “othering.” Fear is the Father of Hate – and off we go.

 

LMP: What would you say about the bubble some of us feel we are living in?

 

M&B: It’s hard for any individual to recognize the bubble they live in.  How can the bubbles be popped so that we truly engage with each other and find our common interests?  What is involved in doing this, not just on an individual level, but on a community level?  Where do we begin?

 

LMP: Yes, those are just the questions we are posing to ourselves, and through our educational programs, attempt to come up with meaningful responses.   Does the movie show any opposition to Hitler, similar to ours here?

 

M&B: There are a few characters opposed to Hitler in the movie.  Others are either killed off – or passive.  Think of reactions to Senator Joseph McCarthy in our country.  How will each of us respond to further injustices here?

 

LMP: Exactly!  What do you want to say about Chaplin’s epilogue at the end of the movie?

 

M&B: He is calling us to the better angels of our nature!  If only every leader led with such messages. His words continue to be relevant, unfortunately.  Note that he is also asking soldiers to fight with the love of humanity in their hearts.

 

LMP: Yes.  This movie is uncanny in its relevance for us today.  I just finished watching the movie as well as a documentary on Chaplin’s life. He was a genius, and a very complex man, hated and loved.   He was hounded out of this country because of his perceived Russian communist sympathies, communist sympathizers being among the major scapegoats of the 1950s.   Yet he was humbly grateful to the motion picture academy that presented him with a lifetime achievement Oscar. In that documentary, his daughter said he was only granted a ten-day visa to attend the event.  She exhorted him not to go.  He replied that he was delighted saying, “You see, they are still afraid to me.”

 

Maryetta and Bob, thank you so much for kicking off our new 2017-2018 season with this movie. This will be a really rich experience for us all.

 

Be sure to RSVP to Lenore that you will be coming to the movie on September 23, 2017.

 

2017-2018 Cinema Series Season

Mark your calendars now for the Cinema Series Season! Our movie dates are:

Saturday, September 23, 2017 – “The Great Dictator”

Discussant: Maryetta Andrews-Sachs, LICSW, CGP, FAGPA & Robert Zeskind


Saturday, December 9, 2017 – “Cabaret”

Discussant: Liz Marsh, LICSW


Saturday, February 10, 2018 – “Get Out”

Discussant: Raquel Willerman, PhD, LGSW & Warren Levy


Saturday, April 7, 2018 – “Crash”

Discussants: Myrna Frank, PhD

Cinema Series Interview – “Black Swan”

screenshot-2016-11-22-19-38-57Interview between Judy Tyson and David Heilman, who will be presenting the next MAGPS Cinema Series movie, “Black Swan,” Saturday, April, 29, 2017.

 

 

 

JUDY: David, I’m looking forward to getting to know you. And I’m wondering about your choice to present Black Swan at the Cinema Series on April 29.

DAVID: Absolutely, but before we start, I’d like to thank you and Lenore for giving me this opportunity to speak with the MAGPS community.

JUDY: You’re welcome. These interviews are a great way to share your personal self and your insights related to the film you have chosen to present. And our Cinema Series evening is a great way to enjoy our group, and have some fun and a learning experience as well.

Please tell us about yourself, your years before grad. school at GWU, and how you came to decide you want to be a mental health professional.


DAVID:
From as early as grade school I wanted to study voice and be an opera singer. I first studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and then I majored in voice at The Juilliard School. When training as an opera singer, performance anxiety was a part of my everyday life. At Juilliard, I was taught anxiety was good; the fuel that makes for a brilliant performance. But I was not taught how to cope with relentless observation and intense competition. Needing help managing my stress, I began psychotherapy. I gained insight, increased my confidence and an ability to cope with substantial performance pressures. I also came to have high regard for my therapist and the psychotherapy process.

JUDY: You invested so many years in opera, why did you shift your focus to the mental health profession?

DAVID: I stopped singing professionally in 2010. Studying at the Music Academy of the West, I was fortunate to be mentored by mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne. And she encouraged me to study abroad in Germany. I soon realized that performing on the road would be an unavoidable reality. After much soul-searching, I concluded life on the road would be exciting; but it wouldn’t make me happy. I am proud of my life changing decision to leave music, study psychology, and become a psychotherapist. I’ve come to realize that practicing psychotherapy is an art. Becoming a mental health clinician has been one of the wisest decisions of my life.

JUDY: What a journey you’ve had! You enjoyed creating music; faced your fears as a performing musician; were mentored by a famous opera singer; challenged yourself by scrutinizing your choice of careers; and you have done what it takes to change careers. The insight and wisdom you gained along the way gives you a unique perspective to appreciate your client’s challenges.

You’ll soon graduate from GWU with a PsyD. How did you become aware of the value of group as a change agent?

DAVID: I first became a fan of group when attending GW’s “Group Relations Conference,” required for all Psy.D. first year psychology students. The conference is run similar to a Tavistock group. We learned about group process by completing a task in a small group while a group leader pointed out what is occurring unconsciously within the group. I was riveted by what transpired in my small group. I realized that group process reveals unconscious interpersonal patterns. I noticed I was competitive with my group members, and felt the shadow of Juilliard’s performance pressures influencing how I related to my group peers. That experience changed me. I learned that group process can stimulate twinship, honesty, and cohesion. I realized that skilled group leadership can effect positive change.

JUDY: Leaving the music profession to study psychology and train as a psychotherapist seems to be a dramatic change. Would you share your thoughts about that? What moved you to choose a mental health profession; And your interest in group, in particular?

DAVID. I believe my love of music and singing ensemble influenced me most in choosing group work. I still sing occasionally with the choir at the Washington National Cathedral. There are similarities between choral work and group work. Both incorporate improvisation. The boundaries in music are found in the time signature, the key signature, and the notes. Yet, the performance of the music is a live interaction among singers and their conductor.  Anything is possible.  No performance is identical. Similarly, for the group leader(s) and the group, each session has boundaries: time and confidentiality, cost of the sessions. And, again, anything is possible. Interactions among the therapist and group members are unique and unpredictable. So, for me, the group session is similar to a “musical” experience. Musicians sing ensemble to make music. Likewise, the group leader’s objective is to help the group develop cohesion (ensemble) as a means to support their insight, self-awareness, and personal growth.

JUDY. That is a beautiful metaphor. As a musician who enjoys playing chamber music, I very much relate to your comparing musical ensemble with the group process.

Let’s focus now on your decision to present the Black Swan at the Cinema Series. What motivated you to choose a film with such a dark theme?

DAVID. I know Black Swan can be a tough sell because of its disturbing nature.  However, as group leaders, we know it is important to be aware of undercurrents of competition and envy that may exist in our groups. When these feelings go unnoticed, not tended to, group members become anxious and shut down. Anxiety and paranoia may not lead to the plight experienced by the star ballerina in Black Swan. However, the stress the feelings impose can border on destructive. If competition percolates in the group, unchecked and unseen by the leader, there is no group safety.

I hope the film will stimulate a group discussion of the power of competition and how it can be a change agent. In Black Swan, we see an undercurrent of competition; a pecking order, and a striving for the company’s artistic director’s love or attention.  And a toxic group culture goes unnoticed until damage is done.

My wish is that those who view the film will heighten their awareness of their own feelings of jealousy, rage, envy, and competition the film addresses. I’d like to explore together how group can be an ideal setting to identify, process, and show the universality of these experiences.

JUDY: I agree, keeping aware and addressing signs of competition can be healing for group members and ultimately stimulate group cohesion.  I look forward to exploring our views regarding how we might address competitive strivings in our groups.

In “Black Swan” the camera focuses its lens on our star ballerina. The camera gives us a glimpse of her external and her internal life. Her life as she experiences it. Viewing her world through her eyes, we begin to wonder, what is real and what is projection? They blur for us. Please comment on this aspect of the film.

DAVID: So often in group we see members finding that what they believed to be “real” in others, is not “real” at all. For example, a member might believe another specific group member thinks they are rude and selfish, when this was never the case. It is the nature of group process for this “blurring” to occur and this is why a grounded group “leader” is critical to keep the process healthy and safe.

JUDY: Would you share with us the take away you hope to offer others from our viewing and discussing the film?

DAVID: As group leaders, we can help members see their “truths” differently. The film shows many “truths.” And without giving away the ending, I believe it will enable us to see how competition can get ugly and feel scary when it is unacknowledged and unexplored. I so look forward to exploring this provocative and important film with the MAGPS community.

JUDY: Me too. We certainly have an interesting, thought provoking, and stimulating evening to look forward to.

Cinema Series Preview: Black Swan

 

Black Swan: Performance, Competition, and Annihilation in Group 

by David Heilman, MM, MPsy

Our next Cinema Series presentation will feature the movie, Black Swan. The film follows New York City Ballet dancer Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) as she goes after her big shot of being cast as the lead in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Nina impresses the artistic director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassell), but Swan Lake needs a ballerina who can play both the White Swan–with virtue and purity–and the Black Swan–with cunning and calculating seduction. While Nina is told by Thomas that she fits the White Swan role perfectly, she has stiff competition in the company’s new dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis), who appears to exemplify the Black Swan. Although Nina has befriended by Lily, her fears of competition get the better of her, and she becomes her own worst enemy.

Join us on April 29, 2017, as host Lenore Pomerance, LICSW, CGP, discussant Judy Tyson, PhD, MS, CGP, and presenter and Juilliard-trained singer David Heilman, MM, MPsy, explore the intensity of competition, and how competitive feelings can be stirred up (and faced) in Group. Click here for more information.

Cinema Series Postlude – “Moonrise Kingdom”

Originally posted to Trish Cleary’s blog for Valentine’s Day, we wanted to make sure our community was able to access Trish’s wonderful follow-up entry to her Cinema Series presentation on the film “Moonrise Kingdom.” Please enjoy:

Hungry for Love – Trish Cleary, MS, LCPC-MFT-ADC, CGP

When bonds of love become broken or altered, we strive to restore them.

Sam and Suzy were drawn to each other at first sight. In a matter of seconds, their hearts connected; just as circumstances beyond their control separated them. They shared their feelings through secret letters and created a sanctuary from the barren emotional landscapes of their separate worlds. Sam and Suzy’s desire for closeness contrasts with the melancholic deprivation of the adults responsible for them. They plan to escape the isolation of this ordinary world and create a special place of their own.

Wes Andersen’s “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012) is about a small world where big events occur. Suzy and Sam, the central characters in this magical movie, powerfully influence others in a multitude of ways. I recently presented this film to my group psychotherapy colleagues at our local Cinema Series to illustrate aspects of group theory as well as the healing power of group. “Moonrise Kingdom” reflects the safe holding space of our therapy groups, small worlds where life-changing experiences can happen.

Sam and Suzy are kindred spirits, caught in the proscribed confines of the status quo. Sam, an orphan stuck in foster care, relies on his scouting skills, as reflected by the merit badges covering his shirt. Suzy, trapped in a discordant family, clings to her music, the heroines in her books, and her kitten. They hunger for a known but almost-forgotten feeling: acceptance. Their courage launches a “hero’s journey” of tests, enemies, and allies. Sam and Suzy’s adventure affirms the power of their love and ultimately transforms their world.

We encounter Sam and Suzy in an open field ready to embark on their secret life together. Sam wears his scout uniform with pride. Tucked among his badges is his mother’s brooch, a poignant sign of her love and his loss. His coonskin hat and corncob pipe complete his eccentric ensemble. His expertly packed gear rests comfortably on his back conveying the competence of his budding maturity. Suzy’s gaze at Sam from under her stylized blue eye-shadowed lids is steady and suggests a worldly sophistication as she accepts his bouquet of wild-flowers. Binoculars hang from her neck. A record player, records, a suitcase filled with books and a basket carrying her kitten are precariously balanced upon her small frame. They embark on a two-day hike and, after a series of mishaps, arrive at their new home, a beautiful remote cove. Sam efficiently and expertly sets up camp as music from Suzy’s portable record player embraces them. They swim, dance, play and then sleep under the stars of Moonrise Kingdom.

A dangerous storm is brewing. A search party has been dispatched. Heedless of the impending danger, Suzy and Sam continue to evade the adults’ attempts to restrain their intentions. They persevere and proclaim their love. It isn’t until Sam and Suzy approach life-threatening danger that the adults recognize their love as real. Their truth awakens the adults’ desire for real connections. As their melancholic fog dissipates, tender bonds are forged. Sam and Suzy welcome the thoughtful boundaries designed to nurture them without eclipsing their love.

Clinical Considerations

The adults in Sam and Suzy’s lives have failed them. Our heroes move away from this disappointment, trusting in their own idealism. The brewing storm represents unresolved ruptures the adults must face. Withstanding this crisis supports real connections.

James Kavanaugh’s poem mirrors Sam and Suzy’s acceptance of each other in “Moonrise Kingdom.”

To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one’s self in another.

Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.

It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one’s inner self.

Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon’s own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adult’s deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Full URL:  https://www.trishcleary.com/spokentruthssharedjourney/2017/2/14/hungry-for-love

Short URL:  http://bit.ly/2knIQQ0

Date:  February 14, 2017

Twitter:  A Valentine treat has been posted on my blog