Group Psychotherapy Conference FAQ

  • Click on the blue tabs below to learn more about our conferences.
  • Conference dates, locations, and topics are below the FAQ box.
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  • MAGPS Conferences offer a unique learning experience through large group meetings and dialogue, didactic information-sharing and demonstration, and small process group experiences.
  • Our goal is to provide a learning environment in which conference members can integrate a deeper understanding of the topical content and consider introducing new material into their work.
  • This conference is intended for psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, psychiatric nurses, and social workers.
  • MAGPS encourages attendance by students, interns, residents, and new professionals by offering reduced rates for first-time attendees.
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  • Online registration is available by clicking the "Register Now!" button.
  • For more information please contact Jen Bissell & Liz Marsh, Membership Co-Chairs, at registration@magps.org.
  • Registration Deadline is Friday, March 24, 2017. No day-of registrations will be accepted.
    • MAGPS Member $235
    • Non-member $255
    • 1st Time Attendee $210
    • New Professional $125
    • Student/Retiree $75
    • CEU Processing Fee $25
  • For assistance or to register by phone, contact a conference registrar: Jen Bissell and Liz Marsh at registration@magps.org.
  • Cancellation Policy: Full refund less $25 if made by 03/24/2017; no refunds after that date.

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Conference & Institute Site - Saint Elizabeths Hospital

1100 Alabama Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20032

METRO: Congress Heights

202-479-0027

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  • 8:00    -  8:45   Registration and Continental Breakfast
  • 8:45    -  9:00  Welcome
  • 9:00    -  10:45 Plenary Session #1
  • 10:45  -  11:00 Break
  • 11:00  -  12:30 Small Group #1
  • 12:30  -  1:30   Lunch
  • 1:30    -  1:45   Break
  • 1:45    -  2:15   Community Meeting
  • 2:15    -  2:30   Break
  • 2:30    -  4:15   Plenary Session #2
  • 4:15    -  4:30   Break
  • 4:30    -  6:00   Small Group #2
  • 6:00    -  7:00   New Attendees & Mentors Reception
Sunday, April 2, 2017
  • 8:00    -  8:45   Continental Breakfast
  • 8:45    -  10:15 Plenary Session #3
  • 10:15  -  10:30 Break
  • 10:30  -  12:00 Small Group #3
  • 12:00  -  12:30 Small Group Debriefing, Evaluation, & CEU
  • 12:30  -  12:45 Break
  • 12:45  -  1:15   Wrap Up
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Small Group Leaders

** MAGPS traditionally invites a guest small group leader from another affiliate society.

Brief Biographical Information

  • Kathy Reedy, LCSW, LMFT, LCADC, BCD, CGP is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work and a Certified Group Psychotherapist.  She has been in clinical practice over 35 years and leading groups over 30 years. She has led groups for clinical doctoral students at Wright State University in the School of Professional Psychology. Kathy runs groups in her practice addressing a variety of issues, relationship issues, addiction issues, grief, depression, anxiety, etc. She has led small groups for Tri-State Group Psychotherapy Conferences which is her local affiliate society.  In addition, she has led a two day Institute for the American Group Psychotherapy Society. The group therapy model is the forefront of Kathy’s practice as a result of the value it has brought to her both personally and professionally.   You can check out her website at www.kathyreedy.com for additional information.
  • Sally Brandel, PhD, CGP   Leadership is required for change.  How we responsibly exercise leadership as group psychotherapists is, in my view, particularly relevant in today’s changed political climate.   I have a private practice in Washington DC and run an ongoing psychodynamic group.   Before becoming a clinical psychologist, I worked for many years in international relations with the Department of State and the CIA.
  • Emily M. Jones, LICSW is a psychotherapist in the Washington DC area. She has worked extensively with children, families, and adults in her private practice, as well as in community based outpatient mental health, school, and residential settings. She is trained in trauma focused-CBT, integrative play therapy, the neurological effects of traumatic stress, and group psychotherapy. Across her different areas of practice, she has found that the power of change is rooted in the connections formed in the therapy room as we learn to fully love and be loved.
  •  Nancy Hafkin, PhD, CGP and Marc Hafkin, PhD met in a Doctoral program at American University.  Married and practicing as Psychologists almost forty years, they work as a co-therapy team in long-term psychodynamic group psychotherapy, as well as when seeing couples.  Using a couple action method psychotherapy system (CAMPS) designed by Marc, they offer affective, behavioral, cognitive and emotional opportunities for change.  Marc has trained in Psychodrama for close to a decade, and Nancy is a new trainee in Psychodrama.  Both have independent practices where they see individuals, couples and groups in Bethesda, Maryland. 
  • Bradley Lake, LCSW-C, LICSW has been in private practice for over 25 years, working with individuals, couples and groups and has been enjoying providing supervision for local clinicians.  Bradley has practices in Washington DC and Annapolis MD. He has a passion for group work. With joy Bradley is working on a book in collaboration with his husband – Bradley’s psychologically oriented writings and his husband’s photography.
  • Rachel Miller, PsyD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Washington, D.C., where she treats individuals, couples and groups. Dr. Miller has received advanced group therapy training through the Washington School of Psychiatry and is a Certified Group Psychotherapist. She is also an active member of ICP+P and a graduate of the ICP+P couples training program. Dr. Miller is the co-founder and co-director of Prentice, a private practice training institute. Additionally, she teaches and provides supervision to pre- and post-doctoral trainees at Georgetown University’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS).
  • Reginald Nettles, PhD, CGP is a licensed psychologist in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP) in independent practice in Columbia, Maryland, providing individual, couples, and group psychotherapy. He is a Past-President of the Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society, and a former member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association Board of Directors. He is a faculty member of the National Group Psychotherapy Institute and founding chair of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Culture, both at the Washington School of Psychiatry in Washington, D.C. He has written, presented and consulted extensively on group psychotherapy and counseling, and LGBT, racial and ethnic minority and disability issues and their intersections.
  • Daniel Turetsky, PsyD is a practicing psychologist in Bethesda and Georgetown where he sees children and adults in individual, group, family and couples therapy.  Group work is a particular passion and he finds that no therapy brings forward the heart, courage, vulnerability and character as consistently as participating in a group. And, of course, he has had his share of perils in his group work too.
  • Jonathan C. Stillerman, PhD, CGP, is a clinical psychologist and Certified Group Psychotherapist with a private practice in Washington, DC. He is Assistant Clinical Professor in the Professional Psychology Program at George Washington University and serves on the faculty of the Washington School of Psychiatry where he teaches in the National Group Psychotherapy Institute, the Supervision Program and the Clinical Program on Psychotherapy Practice. Dr. Stillerman has led a number of process groups for MAGPS and often presented at AGPA's annual conference. In addition, he is the co-founder and former Co-Director of Men Can Stop Rape, a non-profit empowering male youth to prevent gender-based violence, and has taught internationally on the psychology of masculinities.
  • Fox Vernon, PhD is a psychotherapist and musician who lives and practices in Alexandria, VA. Licensed as a clinical psychologist, he specializes in experiential, relational, and existential approaches. He provides individual, group, and couples psychotherapy, often working conjointly with his colleagues and drawing upon curiosity and creativity to help clients in their journeys of self-understanding, self-acceptance, and growth. As a musician, Fox's interests and influences span from classical to rock and jazz. He writes music and performs as a guitarist and singer in and around the DC metro region in various bands and solo projects. You can learn more about Fox at his websites www.foxvernon.com and www.foxvernonmusic.com
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  • MAGPS supports the professional development of students, interns, post-docs, residents, and clinicians early in their careers by offering scholarships to cover registration and banquet costs.
  • Students, First-time attendees and new professionals may also register for conferences at reduced rates.
  • Scholarships are awarded to applicants on a lottery basis.
  • Click here to apply online for scholarships.
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  • 10.5 CE/CMEs for Professional Counselors, Clinical Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychologists and Medical Professionals.
  • Participants must attend, sign in/out each morning and afternoon, and complete an evaluation to receive certificates.
  • The Washington School of Psychiatry is approved by the American Psychological Association to provide continuing education for psychologists.
  • The Washington School maintains responsibility for this program and its contents. The School is approved by the Social Work Board of the State of Maryland as a provider of continuing education for social workers in DC, MD, VA, and WV.
  • The School is approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences as provider #5691 of continuing education to social workers and counselors in California. The School is a National Board for Certified Counselors-Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP #6388, and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The School solely is responsible for all aspects of the program.
  • The School is accredited by MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The School designates this conference for a maximum of 10.5 AMA PRA Category I Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
  • Disclosure 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 the program. The Washington School of Psychiatry is an independent non-profit organization. It is not affiliated with the government of the District of Columbia or the government of the United States.
  • Please Note: Licensing Boards change regulations often and while we attempt to stay abreast of their most recent changes, if you have questions or concerns about this course meeting your specific board’s approval, we recommend you contact your board directly to obtain a ruling.
white-square Suggested Pre-Conference Readings:
  • Avolio, B. J., & Gardner, W. L. (2005). Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. The leadership quarterly16(3), 315-338. - Click here to read.
  • Pollack, H. B., & Slan, J. B. (1995). Reflections and suggestions on leadership of psychotherapy groups. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy45(4), 507-519. - Click here to read.
Conference Brochure:
  • Click here to download our conference brochure in PDF format.
white-squareFor more information please contact Lorraine Wodiska & Rose McIntyre, Conference Co-Chairs, at conferences@magps.org.
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  • DISABILITY ACCESS: For ADA accommodations for lodgings or conference access, please advise at least 10 days prior to the event either with your online registration or by email to registration@magps.org. We cannot ensure accommodations without adequate notice.
  • MAGPS is an affiliate of the American Group Psychotherapy Association serving psychotherapists from DC, MD, VA, WV, and PR. Its mission is to provide and support group psychotherapy training and education.
  • Disclosure 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.

 

Group Psychotherapy Conferences

Spring Conference 2017 – Saint Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, DC

SAVE THE DATE

Desires to Lead: Perils and Passions

April 1-2, 2017 at Saint Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, DC

Presenter: Karen S. Travis, LCSW, BCD, CGP, FAGPA

Leadership abounds with rewards and challenges. It may create competition and also may present opportunities for growth that we would not have had otherwise. We may open ourselves to criticism, possible burn out, and need to manage angry and hurt feelings.

Exploring our family of origin, our personal history of leadership, our mentors and models are ways to tap into our desires and decisions to lead. We will also consider our fears that may block us from leadership, and our passions that compel us into leadership? In this conference we will explore, share and learn together as a group. Please join us.

Karen S. Travis, LCSW, BCD, CGP, FAGPA

Karen is a licensed clinical social worker in Baton Rouge, LA, has been in clinical practice for 36 years and leading groups for 34 years. She is in private practice, leads groups for an IOP/PHP agency, supervises new professionals an dteaches from the groups she runs with psychiatric residents.

Fall Conference 2016 – Attachment, Loss, and Desire in Group Psychotherapy: A Lacanian Perspective

Attachment, Loss, and Desire in Group Psychotherapy: A Lacanian Perspective

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Scott Conkright, PsyD & The Red Well Theater Group

November 4 – 6, 2016, Cambridge, MD

Desire and lack permeate group psychotherapy and are available for expression and elaboration among group members as long as the group leader is willing to tolerate the tensions evoked by these primitive feelings, often directed towards him or her. In this conference, Scott Conkright, PsyD, will demonstrate the power of the group to both elicit and cope with these powerful dynamics through the integration of theory, research, and clinical practice. A Red Well Theater Group play reading presentation will dramatically illuminate the human struggle between longing for attachments and the inevitability of endings and goodbyes.

The conference will highlight how Lacanian theory explains people’s different responses to desire and lack.

  • The conference will help participants become familiar with Lacan’s theories of desire and lack.
  • The conference will help participants apply Lacanian theory to group psychotherapy treatment.
  • The conference will help participants identify the essential features of Lacan’s theory of the split subject.
  • The conference will address desire and loss within the group via the play, Dinner with Friends.
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Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe how member attachments influence the process of grief and mourning within a therapy group.
  2. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of their own desires and lack influence their ability to be engaged in the group when exploring these issues as a leader.
  3. The Workshop will help participants understand how their desires influence the amount of risk they take in expressing desire and shame.
  4. Participants will be able to identify and discuss themes related desire and lack as illuminated within the play presentation of Dinner with Friends
  5. The Workshop will help participants become familiar with Lacan’s theories of desire and lack.
  6. Participants will have a fuller understanding of Lacan’s concept of jouissance and how it influences group behavior.

About our Presenters

Scott Conkright, Psy.D. Interview for the Fall 2014 Edition of the AGPS Voice from David Kaplowitz on Vimeo.

Dr. Conkright received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He earned a Master’s Degree from Drake University in Counseling Education, and then his Doctorate degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. Before moving to Atlanta in 1996, Dr. Conkright maintained a private practice in Chicago. He has been providing psychotherapy to individuals, couples and groups for over 15 years.

Dr. Conkright specializes in depression, anxiety, couple’s therapy, sexual addiction, and sexual orientation issues. He has a particular interest in the application of Lacanian theory to group psychotherapy. In addition to providing therapy, Dr. Conkright has served as President of the Atlanta Group Psychotherapy Society as well as the Affiliate Board of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. He is also a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Analytical Society. He presents workshops nationally on group psychotherapy and on Lacanian psychoanalysis.

The Red Well Theater Group contributes to the professional development of group therapists through presentations that feature a dramatic play reading combined with a clinically informed commentary and audience discussion.

For more information please contact Nancy Hafkin & Rose McIntyre, Conference Co-Chairs, at conferences@magps.org.

 

Interview with Our Spring Conference Presenter,  Haim Weinberg PhD

I was excited for the opportunity to interview Haim Weinberg in preparation for our Spring Conference.  Here is a preview of our upcoming weekend.

karenKaren:  Before talking about the conference weekend, I thought I might ask a few questions about your background and interests since they are so unique.  You are from Israel, trained and practiced there until 2006, and have also done a significant amount of teaching and lecturing internationally. I am curious how your international exposure to groups of all kinds has influenced and possibly challenged your thinking about Group Psychotherapy? 

haimphotoHaim:  Yes, I think it has both influenced how I experience group and how I do group therapy.  Originally, when I was in Israel, for many years the Bion approach was most appreciated. Then, after 15-20 years, something changed and the Group Analytic approach became more popular. This method, which was a Foulkesian one, is not well known in the US. I am a group analyst, similar to a psychoanalyst, but I practice in groups. My training as a group analyst required several years of study and going through groups myself. So first, this training influenced my thinking.  But, coming to the US, I integrated some of the American approaches, and what I try to do is combine the Group Analytic with the Relational school. So, I think nowadays, I would say that my approach is a mixture of relational and group analysis, and they are not so far from one another.

But also more than that, I think that participating in groups around the world, being involved in the IAGP (International Association of Group Psychotherapy), where I was a Board member for ten years and attended conferences all around the world, and also in the last year having students in Singapore and Indonesia, has given me a broader perspective because we usually do groups the way we see the environment and the way we are trained. And, it’s difficult for us to perceive that there are other ways of doing group, even if we know that it’s done differently in other places. We usually value what we know and what we were trained as the best. But, there are other ways. I think that I am knowledgeable in many approaches, more than the average group therapist. Not only approaches that are in Israel and Europe, but also approaches that are in South America, that are no less important. But, I try to be modest and not say my way is the best.

Lastly, is the need to adjust group to a specific culture. I am very much aware that the way we do groups in the West is not suitable for Asian cultures, for example. So, we also need to take culture and the group into consideration. These have been some of my experiences and influences that I can readily identify.

Karen:  So along these lines, I see that you developed an International Doctoral Program with a Group Psychotherapy focus through the Professional School of Psychology.  From my perspective, this endeavor is really exciting and a contrast to what I would consider the typical graduate-level psychotherapy training here in the US, which places greater emphasis on individual treatment. Can you talk a little about what inspired you to develop this program?

Haim:  Yes, it’s something that I can talk about for hours! I very much agree with you, that most graduate training programs focus on the individual. There might be one course in Group Psychotherapy, but more than that, programs don’t create a separate professional activity devoted to group. From my point of view, if you want to be a group therapist, you have to learn more beyond individual therapy. That’s one thing that separates American approaches from European ones. The CGP (Certified Group Psychotherapist Certification), for example, requires only 12 hours of theory and I don’t think that’s enough. So, I would say, if you want to become a group therapist, you need to study no less than you would study to become an individual therapist. Especially since there are some phenomenon that are unique to group, for example, scapegoating. You don’t see this in individual therapy and when you have it in a group, if you don’t understand it, you will make mistakes.

So, more specifically to address the question about the PsyD program, it developed from the fact that there aren’t many post graduate programs that you can study only group therapy and that last one or two years. I thought that combining this notion with a doctorate program that is focused more on practical experiences, such as a PsyD, was a good idea, and I suggested it to the Professional School of Psychology. They were very enthusiastic about it. The idea is to take all of the courses that students usually study in a more traditional doctoral program, like Personality, Psychopathology, Psychodiagnostics and see how it applies to group. Also, students learn about what kind of tools and questionnaires are beneficial to screen people for groups, that measure group dynamics and group cohesion, or evaluate outcomes of group treatment, all of which are not typically studied. And, of course, the dissertations and research typically focus on group material. So that’s the idea of the program.

I started the program in Israel because it was close to the time that I moved to the US and I was still well known there as a group therapist and a psychologist. I was surprised to see the success. I sent a message to about 2000 people and I got about 60 responses from individuals who were interested. And I went to Israel over the summer and met with candidates who wanted to enroll, and out of them, I started the first Israel-cohort with eight people. It was nine years ago, and already we have eight cohorts and the people have been so satisfied!  And, after some years, I also developed the program in Singapore and people from Southeast Asia participate in it. We already have two cohorts, which makes me believe it is also going to be successful there too.  So now, in July, I am opening it to the US.

A very unique feature of the program is that it is a hybrid program based on distance learning, with face-to-face workshops from time-to-time. So, once a year people come together for a week or two for the face-to-face experience, which is usually more of the experiential part with process groups. Another important and unique feature of the program is that it is based on distance learning that is synchronic, not asychronic. Instead of distance learning that is reliant on emails or forums, where communication between the students and instructors is not at the same time (asynchronic), we do it through the Zoom application, which by the way I introduced to AGPA (laugh).  The application creates a video conference so students can be in Singapore, Indonesia, I can be in California, the instructor can be in New York, and other students can be in Israel.  Although the time difference can create some difficulty, we can have a class where we see one another and talk to one another as if we are all in the same room. Of course there are limitations, but it creates the feeling that we are not so distant.

Karen: So, now shifting to a our conference, which is titled “Impossible Groups: Absorbing a New Paradigm for Group Psychotherapy?”  Before introducing us to the new paradigm, can you share what kind of impossible group situations you will speak to over the conference weekend? Are there plans to do a demo group about the Impossible?

impossible_groups400x300Haim:  Of course I would like to do a demo group, and more than one!  Having demonstration groups is the best way to learn. I can talk and talk, but… Yes, I would love to do a demo group! And, I am always shocked about how powerful a demo group can be. One of my examples of Impossible Groups is the demo group because if you think about it, it’s impossible! People watch you and the boundaries are so loose. You have one hour, sometimes even less. And, you are in an milieu where your colleagues watch you, so it’s important not to be ashamed, but you have to self-disclose and be open. It’s impossible actually! And, the magic is, how does it happen? It is magical how people do really connect on a deep level in these situations. Sometimes I feel so touched in a demo group! So, this is the idea of an impossible group.

And, there are groups, that according to all of the textbooks, should not work well or advance to deeper stages of understanding, and still, they do it. So the question is: How they do it? So first, what I want to do is present the basics. For example, it’s written everywhere that in order for a group to make progress you need it to be safe. Creating a safe environment means having very clear boundaries that are not too loose. However, I can give many examples of groups that do not go with this recommendation and still they work well. By the way, internet groups are another example of them. The boundaries are so loose, especially around time and space, and still, in internet forums I see examples of wonderfully touching interactions. People connect as if there is the illusion of the small group although it actually is not one. I discovered that you are a member of the Group Psychotherapy Forum, am I right?  So you, too, have seen it from time to time, of course not all of the time.  So, this is another example of an Impossible Group, if you think about it because of all of the limitations and still, it functions.
I have many other examples. Some of the other ones are culturally dependent. I will also talk about a group I observed in Brazil where the boundaries seemed so loose that it could not work. They called it a Community Group, and it was a group of people from the favella, the poor neighborhood. Children were coming in and out, there were no boundaries, and still a woman was talking about being sexually assaulted, which is so sensitive. And, I thought, “How can she do this?” So, this is what I want to talk about, with many examples. And, I will use the demo group to show that it does happen. In the end I hope I can bring in some assumptions or speculations of what allows such a group to function well.

Karen:  What has it been like to tolerate the ‘impossible?’ My immediate impression is that you must have a tremendous ability to tolerate anxiety! And, what have these unique experiences taught you about yourself?

Haim:  I agree with you, you need to tolerate anxiety and ambiguity. One of the ways that I explain it is through creating an imaginary group in your mind, which has nothing to do with the therapy group. I will explain it more, but I must leave some for the conference. These Impossible Groups always surprise me.  I am always amazed at the power of the group, because what I have experienced is so surprising and unexpected, I usually feel very touched, lucky, and grateful that people are willing to take risks and that I am a part of it.

Karen:  Finally, what do you hope conference attendees will take away from this weekend?

Haim:  I hope that the participants understand that they can do good enough groups even under circumstances that don’t seem like they are providing safety.  A lot of times people ask questions like, “I will be absent for two weeks, will my group survive?” I want people to understand that there is something in a group that is so powerful, that if you provide a presence, members will believe in their ability to overcome a lot of difficulty.  Another thing, I hope that participants take away some of my style and integrate it with some of theirs’. I hope that I will be able to be not too anxious to show how I am trying to be more present and create the right conditions in the demo groups. And, I hope to add some theory that people can take from the presentation as well. So, a combination of theory, of the demonstration group and experience, and of being more assured about our ability to do groups even under difficult conditions.

Karen:  It sounds like we are going to have a great weekend.  I am really looking forward to it!

2016 Spring Conference Preview

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.

Spring Conference 2016 Preview: What are Impossible Groups?

I recently asked Spring Conference Co-Chair Bradley Lake about the title of the upcoming conference. It wasn’t clear to me what an Impossible Group meant. His answer helped me and may be helpful to others, so I am posting it here:

Bradley Lake

Bradley: In my understanding, via my conversations with our guest presenter Haim Weinberg,”Impossible” Groups refers to the changing world (i.e., social media) and how do we as clinicians adapt and absorb, or not, with these changes.

This includes the duration and frequency of sessions. For example, I have had one gay men’s group for over 10 years.  The fourth and fifth member left the group at the end of last year.  The group had previously, with my reluctant permission, had contact on Facebook and would come into group every week sharing their contacts and how it felt.  There was one member who did not want to have communication on Facebook and that was discussed in detail and depth.  The remaining three members did not want to add any new members and we obviously talked about disbanding the group.

Collectively we decided to do a trial of meeting every other week and add an additional 15 minutes to the group (from 75 minutes to 90 minutes).  It continues that way with great success today.  I do meet with each member individually for one session per month.  Haim felt like this fit his definition of Impossible Group.  I would not have used the word Impossible but I believe that he is referring to what we once thought was impossible is, in fact, possible.