Spring 2016 Newsletter
Volume 24, Issue 1 
Editor's Note:
Welcome to our first fully-digital newsletter! By way of (digital) introduction, my name is Sonia and I am honored to have been offered the opportunity to take over as the MAGPS Newsletter Editor. Though filling Karen's shoes is a difficult task, I intend on making her proud. 

I believe organizational newsletters like this one are best when they are able to generate interesting and relevant content for their members. This issue focuses on the ways in which MAGPS is currently evolving, and highlights upcoming events and learning opportunities for our members and extended community. My aim is to include additional member generated content in our next newsletter, slated to come out this October. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have article ideas, exciting announcements, advertisements, or suggestions for improvement you would like to share. Now, e njoy!

-Sonia Kahn, PsyD
 Letter from the President
Nancy Hafkin, PhD, CGP  
Maryetta Andrews-Sachs and Nancy Hafkin Greetings! As I write this note, I a m recently home from American Group Psychotherapy Association in New York City, where I had the pleasure of spending time with many of you. I was a "first-time attendee," slightly overwhelmed by being one of 1050 Group Psychotherapists in the same place. It was a marvelous experience, as I experienced a two-day Institute, and continued to learn about the interaction of the Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society and the national organization.

Spring is upon us and growth opportunities abound:  MAGPS is offering a Conference, a process group Training, and three day-long process groups this season. Hopefully, one or more of these is on your Spring schedule. 

In this, the 64th Anniversary of MAGPS, our membership includes some of the most experienced and respected group leaders in the country, as well as energetic mid-level practitioners and thoughtful, impressive beginners. It takes a great deal of hard work and good training to become a good group therapist. Yes, first you put the chairs in a circle, then put people in those chairs. But after that, the best predictor of good group process is the therapist, who needs to be able to handle intimacy, sexuality, envy, competition, aggression, loss, and tragedy. To be good group therapists, we need to constantly seek training in many forms.   Experience in a therapy group, peer group, training group, and process group is essential -- local, regional or national. Part of the goal here at MAGPS is to assist our members in developing group skills and a solid belief in the power of group -- this Spring, we have a group for you!

We are delighted to welcome new faces in leadership on the MAGPS Board. All of us working together are promoting the MAGPS mission of providing group psychotherapy education and creating a learning community. We owe a great deal of thanks to the MAGPS leadership who through their hard work and dedication, are making our mission a success. We invite you to enjoy a professional home in MAGPS.

What's Inside
Spring 2016 Conference Preview
MAGPS Welcomes Haim Weinberg, PhD 
to Washington, D.C.
by Bradley Lake, LICSW, LCSW - Co-Chair of the Spring 2016 Conference
MAGPS 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.
According 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 twice during the conference. This will allow time for the groups to develop while exploring the themes of the conference, as well as group dynamics.
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Register for the 2016 Spring Conference  Today!
Register by Friday, April 1 for the best rate and a guaranteed space. No walk-in registrations will be accepted.

MAGPS supports the professional development of students, interns, residents, and clinicians early in their careers by offering discounted rates for first-time attended and new professionals. Various scholarships are also available, which can be used to cover registration and banquet costs. If you are interested in obtaining a scholarship, you must  apply by Friday, March 25.

Questions? Email conferences@magps.org
Interview with Our Spring Conference Presenter, 
Haim Weinberg PhD
by Karen Eberwein, PsyD

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


Karen:  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? 
Haim:  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? 

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?
Haim:  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!
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 the author of the book, The Paradox of Internet Groups: Alone in the Presence of Virtual Others, and has co-edited a series of books about the social unconscious, including, Social Unconscious in Persons, Groups, and Societies.
Who, What, When, Where, Why, &  I.
 Exploring the Group Leader Role in Process Groups.
By Victoria Lee, PhD
MAGPS is pleased to be offering a one-day workshop designed to help group leaders explore their role, style, and orientation when leading a process group for psychotherapists participating in training events. This pilot training is being offered as a preconference event for the Spring 2016 MAGPS Conference, and will be held at Saint Elizabeths Hospital on Friday April 8, 2016 from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm. The preconference training committee includes Karen Eberwein, PsyD, Victoria Lee, PhD, Farooq Mohyuddin, MD, FAGPA, CGP, and Lorraine Wodiska, PhD, ABPP, CGP. 
Typically, lessons learned in process groups have been a primary training model in development of group psychotherapists. However, the training opportunities that include actual instruction for leaders of this type of group experience have been limited. The MAGPS training committee has recognized this gap and has been working hard to create a unique workshop experience for individuals who want to explore the group leader role. The one-day training will consist of morning and afternoon plenary sessions, taught by Lorraine Wodiska and Farooq Mohyuddin, respectively, and four process groups. Concepts such as exploring the definition of a process group and understanding the difference between process groups and therapy groups will be discussed. Participants will also be encouraged to reflect on how their theoretical orientation, role, and personal reactions to leading a group in a unique environment impact group dynamics. Each process group will be followed by an evaluation session and a break. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided to attendees, and the training will end with a large group discussion. All attendees will participate in the process group sessions as a member and also have the opportunity to co-lead one of the four process group sessions.
The training is designed to further increase attendees' ability to differentiate between a process group and therapy group, facilitate identification of one's theoretical orientation, increase their ability to describe the decision making process relating to choice of interventions, and identify relevant ethical issues in training process groups. It is not intended to be an orientation to leading process groups. 
We believe transitioning between tasks, occupying multiple roles, and leading with peers is challenging. Our primary goal is to provide a safe environment where colleagues can give and receive feedback from one another for the purpose of increasing self-awareness and facilitating one's growth as a process group leader.   To provide attendees with a varied experience as a leader and participant, the committee has designated an application process to ensure training participates have some experience and familiarity with process. Registrants must have participated in at least two educational process group experiences prior to the training. To promote an intimate, safe learning environment, the committee may also limit the number of participants.  Because space may be limited, please do not wait to apply. We have extended the application deadline, which will remain open until seats are filled. 
Ultimately, we hope to use this pilot as a launching pad to create an ongoing training program to facilitate growth for process group leaders in various stages of development. For additional information, including the training program application, please visit the MAGPS website.
Register for the 2016 Spring 
Pre-Conference Institute Today!
Registration is closing soon. For more information about the program, including scheduling, presentation information, pricing and eligibility requirements, please visit the Pre-Conference Training website page.

Questions? Email Karen Eberwein, P syD at  keberwein@hotmail.com
turning the focus on exciting things going on in the MAGPS community
NGPI Receives Training Award at AGPA Meeting
by Molly Donovan, PhD
MAGPS Outreach Committee Developments 
by Sonia Kahn, PsyD

The National Group Psychotherapy Institute (NGPI) of the Washington School of Psychiatry was the recipient of a high honor at the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) meeting in New York on February 25.
The Harold S. Bernard Group Psychotherapy Training Award was established in 2001 and is given each year by the International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists to "an individual or organization whose work in group training and/or education contributes to excellence in the practice of group psychotherapy."
The NGPI was recognized for its significant contribution, spanning over twenty years, of training mental health professionals of all disciplines in the art and craft of group psychotherapy.
"The scope, excellence and longevity of NGPI's program is a direct result of the superb faculty and the quality programming, " said Tony Sheppard, Psy.D., Certification Board Chair. He presented the award at the Annual Meeting of AGPA to the current Chair of NGPI, Molly Donovan, Ph.D., who accepted it on behalf of the entire faculty. A large number of faculty members were in attendance, as were many alumni of the program, several of whom are MAGPS members. There was much joy! 
As the MAGPS organization grows with time, alongside our larger society, our membership is aging with it. Our long-standing members collectively share an enormous wealth of experience, talent, and wisdom, which the entire MAGPS community can benefit from. The MAGPS Outreach Committee -- developed and chaired by Venus Masselam, PhD, LMFT, CGP -- was designed, in-part, as on opportunity to provide free programming ($25 for outsiders) for MAGPS members who would like additional learning opportunities, or a different type of group activity structure. These alternative educational activities are designed to expand the organization's current offerings (including our excellent bi-annual conferences), and allow our own members the opportunity to share their wisdom and talents in new and different ways.
Members of the Outreach Committee were invited based on their long-term affiliation with MAGPS and significant contributions to the organization. Currently, the Outreach Committee is comprised of the following senior members: Trish Cleary, LCPC, CGP (Vice Chair); Nina Brown, PhD, CGP; Reginald Nettles, PhD, CGP; Joan Midway, PhD, CGP; and Nancy Swain, LC, MSW.
Skilled presenters from the MAGPS community throughout the region will be invited to provide unique outreach programming activities for small groups of 6-8 participants. Depending on the presenter's discretion, these programs may be a one-time experience, or a longer weekly or recurrent event. Last year, an eight-week, confidential support group provided a space for members to explore aging and psychotherapeutic practice. Additionally, Trish and Joan also offered a successful process training group. This spring, Trish and Ginger will be offering a similar opportunity. Ideas for future activities include a play reading group, and specialized trainings -- including how to start a new group, and how to deal with grief in groups. In expanding their offerings, the Outreach Committee aims to offer additional opportunities for growth and connection within the MAGPS community.
The MAGPS Cinema Series
by Lenore M. Pomerance, MSW, CGP - Chair, MAGPS Cinema Series
Since 2012, MAGPS has sponsored a Cinema Series at the home of President-Elect Lorraine Wodiska.  The Cinema Series has enjoyed success because of the indefatigable hospitality of Lorraine and her husband Dan, our enthusiastic presenters (listed below), and the equally generous and imaginative food creations of Lorraine, Cristina Secarea and myself.
 Our "season" runs typically October through May, during which we have seen some 18 movies over the past four years. We've circled the globe from Israel with "The Band's Visit"; to a vast cave in the Ukraine with "No Place on Earth"; Mongolia with "The Story of the Weeping Camel"; Cairo during the Arab Spring with "The Square"; Spain with "Bear Cub"; Europe during World War II with "The Soldier of Orange"; England with "The King's Speech"; and Holland with "Antonia's Line."
We've highlighted themes of discrimination, as seen through the life experience of a homeless Japanese artist in "The Cats of Mirikitani"; gay artists during the Harlem Renaissance with "Brother to Brother"; the hidden history of gays in film as depicted in "The Celluloid Closet"; experiences of Sikhs and Muslims in America after 9-11 in "Divided We Fall: America in the Aftermath"; and the impact of aging and decline in "A Late Quartet." We've also had a couple of quirky films that I cannot easily categorize but beautifully depicted group themes, including "Lars and the Real Girl" and "Off The Map." Additionally, our technology theme brought us "The Truman Show," "The Square," and "Her."  And to finish off this season we'll be seeing the animated film "Inside Out" on May 7, 2016.
Though our presenters have mostly been MAGPS members, we have invited movie mavens from the greater clinical community. MAGPS member presenters include Venus Masselam, Karen Eberwein, Pat McCullen, Barbara Cristy, Jonathan Stillerman, Siddharth Shah, Farooq Mohyuddin, Reggie Nettles, Maryetta Andrews-Sachs, Nancy Hafkin, Jonathan LeBolt, and myself. Guest presenters include Gordon Cohen, Stephanie Koenig, Marc Feldman, Ceil Berlin and Margo Silberstein.
We have always welcomed family and friends of MAGPS members to participate in our Cinema Series events. A  non-therapist spouse of an MAGPS member wrote:

I attended all four of the Cinema Series events in 2012. The films have been both entertaining and highly thought-provoking, and the open and inclusive discussions afterward have deepened my experience of them. In the case of "Lars and the Real Girl" -- a film I had seen once before-I found that that the post-film conversation raised issues and nuances about group dynamics and the power of community that I hadn't thought about when I watched it previously. Most recently, "The Celluloid Closet" opened my eyes to the many ways homosexuality has been stereotyped and even demonized in American film over decades, something I had never considered. I'm looking forward to more great Cinema Series events in 2013!
The mission of the series is to promote connection for MAGPS members between conferences, promote the conferences, and provide stimulating learning experiences on issues including -- but not limited to - group themes, diversity, and ethics. We are proud of the successes we have had in this endeavor to date, and look forward to continuing the series with more exciting film experiences in the years to come!
Fall Conference Recap: To Thine Own Self Be True
by  Lorraine  Wodiska, PhD, ABPP - Fall 2015 Conference Chair
At the 2015 Fall Conference, Scott Rutan, PhD met with us at the Tides Inn in Irvington, Virginia to consider the theme:  To Thine Own Self be True: Translating YOUR Theory into Better Group Technique. 
We had exceptional attendance, with about 90 participants who were ably led in the small groups by Nina Brown, Maryetta Andrews-Sachs and Christopher Straley, Amy Bush and Rose McIntyre, Molly Donovan and Barry Wepman, Karen Eberwein and Michael Stiers, Nicole Ruzek and Nicholas Kirsch.  Arnold Cohen, a colleague of Scott Rutan (and also from Boston) was the guest small group leader. 
Dr. Rutan was a lively, humorous and clear speaker who focused on how our personal theory dictates our technique.  The conference weekend included four plenary sessions with Dr. Rutan - including one demo group and two fishbowls, three small group breakout sessions, and various social activities. On Friday night,  we held a reception to welcome participants.  There were a few hours on Saturday to go into town, attend the New Members Luncheon, or relax on the beautiful grounds on The Tides Inn. And, of course, on Saturday we had our dinner/dance banquet with good food and a terrific DJ.  (The next day we gave out awards for best dancers - congratulations to both Jonathans!) It was certainly a lively and engaging conference. 
He began the first plenary with a demonstration group in which each of eight members was given a character role to play (based on a real group session he has conducted in his Boston practice). After the group ended, he asked observers what they hypothesized about each member's family of origin. Dr. Rutan noted that there was significant accuracy in our guesses, making the point that we intuit a great deal about our group members, even before information is expressed openly. We then considered a list of therapeutic healing factors and individually rated which we value most. He suggested that this ordering comprises our essential theory of group; not only should we pull for these very factors when responding to members and orchestrating group process, but we can depend on these factors to see us through difficult moments and intense expressions of affect in group sessions. 
In the second plenary, Dr. Rutan spoke about how he engages group members. He shared that he gently directs them to work on issues related to attachment rather than issues of detachment or conflict in the group. By paying attention to affect, he helps group members respond to one another, and take risks involving vulnerability.
In the third plenary , Dr. Rutan considered the Group Agreements we work from. He highlighted the aspects of the agreement he values, and offered suggestions about what he includes. His agreements include: attendance (come when you can, come on time and stay for the whole meeting); task (work on the issues that brought you to the group); confidentiality (protect the names of the group members); boundaries (use relationships in the group for therapeutic rather than social purposes); fees (pay promptly or your lateness becomes the business of the group); and termination (stay until you are finished with what you came to do ). 

In the final plenary, Dr. Rutan reminded us that people come to us with their solutions and we need to act as detectives to find their problems. He offered suggestions about how to focus on the attachment of group members to one another. He also shared his process for writing group notes. He shared that he does nothing after group until he writes his notes. In these, he focuses on any boundary issues that arose, the first communication he heard, noteworthy process material in the session, and the most emotional moment of the group. Prior to the next group, he tries to remember what happened, reads his previous week's note, and looks at notes from the same week for the last three years to see which issues are recycling. 
Overall, the conference was a tremendous success. Dr. Rutan was incredibly engaging and effective at meeting his goals for the training, thereby allowing participants to living feeling that they had not only learned about technique, but 'thine own self' as well.
A Look Back at the Fall Conference...
A special thank you to Paul Timin - our Fall Conference Photographer!
Jessica Chan and Jen Bissell

Remembering Elliot Blum, PhD
It is with great sadness that we share the news that our beloved colleague, Elliot Blum, died suddenly on March 13, 2016. The following obituary has been reprinted from The Washington Post (published March 15, 2016):

Dr. Elliot R Blum, a Director of Clinical Psychology Training and a Clinical Psychologist in private practice, died suddenly on March 13, 2016, of a massive heart attack at the age of 79. He was a man with big appetites and an even bigger heart. Elliot Blum was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. 

Education and work were important to his family, and he excelled at both, despite what he described as an undiagnosed learning disability. He graduated from City College with a degree in accounting and completed his doctorate in clinical psychology at Florida State University with what he happily dubbed one of the shortest dissertations in the field. He held the highest degree attainable in his profession, an ABPP in Clinical Psychology. 

Dr. Blum had worked continuously since the age of 12, but once he found a profession that enabled him to talk to people all day, he declared that he would never retire. He achieved his wish, seeing patients up until two days before his death. 

He came to Washington DC as a new clinical psychologist working on and later directing a forensic ward at Saint Elizabeths Hospital, the federal government''s acclaimed psychiatric facility run under the auspices of the National Institute of Mental Health. At age 34, Dr Blum became the hospital''s Director of Clinical Psychology Training. 

For 20 years, he ran the Clinical Psychology Training Program, overseeing the instruction of hundreds of externs, interns and residents and creating a program that was renowned throughout the country. Many hours of weekly clinical supervision for the trainees distinguished his program; Dr. Blum insisted on providing highly qualified supervisors to help launch his interns'' professional lives. Over the years, Dr. Blum sent into clinical practice an exceptional cadre of highly trained therapists who work in hospitals, outpatient clinics and private practice to this day. Many of them formed such strong bonds that they became good friends and often worked together long after their internships ended. 

Dr. Blum retired from the federal government in his early 50''s to devote himself full-time to private practice. In his clinical practice, he saw individuals, couples and groups, always adhering to his strong belief that people learn and grow through less judgment and more curiosity. 

Dr. Blum was a member of the American Academy of Psychotherapists, an organization dedicated to authentic personal connection. He participated in and led workshops and met several times a year with a long-term group of senior therapists. 

His work was just one of Dr. Blum''s many passions. He loved cigars. He loved food. He loved animals and always had one or two dogs, saying, "I never want to come home to a house without a dog." He was beloved by his students, colleagues, friends and family, all of whom recognized him as a "deep trawler," a person not into the details of life, but rather wanting to understand the meaning of it all. He loved all questions and encouraged his patients, students and friends to be curious and open. 

Dr. Blum''s first marriage to Deborah Blum ended in divorce. They remained friends, and their blended families often vacationed together on Cape Cod. Dr. Blum is survived by his beloved wife and co-therapist of over 30 years, Dr. Ann Reifman, by his children, Jonathan Blum, Belinda Blum and Joseph Blum, his daughter in law, Barbara Spindel, son in love, Eric Wallach and by his grandchildren, Lucy and Nathan Blum and Ruby and Lou Blum Wallach. 

A Memorial Service will be held at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation (6301 River Road, Bethesda, Maryland 20817) at 1:30 p.m., March 18, 2016. All are welcome.
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