Spring 2017 Newsletter
Volume 25, Issue 1 
Editor's Note:
As I pulled together this most recent edition of the MAGPS Newsletter, I was aware of approaching the end of Nancy's presidency and simultaneously entering the era of a new one (Lorraine's). Thank you, Nancy, for your all of your hard work and dedication to the MAGPS Family over the past two years!  Your commitment to our organization has been noticed, appreciated, and valued. As I look toward the next two years with Lorraine at the helm, I feel excitement, promise, and hope; a stark contrast to how I  felt in the days leading up to January 20th (and the terror, anxiety, and sheer confusion I continue to experience when opening the New York Times each day)!  

I continue to be enormously grateful for the experience of working on this newsletter with such a wonderful and supportive group of people. MAGPS is a truly wonderful place to grow and learn. If you have an idea for how we can use our evolving newsletter to grow and educate our larger community, please do not hesitate to let me know  ( newsletter@magps.org )!
-Sonia Kahn, PsyD
Looking Toward the Spring Conference,
Exploring Perils and Passions with
Karen Travis, LCSW, BCD, CGP, FAGPA
by Lorraine Wodsika, PhD, APBB
Co-Chair of the Spring 2017 Conference
As Conference Co-Chairs, Rose McIntyre and I are delighted to invite you to the MAGPS Conference for Spring 2017. How did this conference topic come about? At the 2016 American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) Conference, Nancy Hafkin and I were in a two-day institute on Leadership with Karen Travis, LCSW, BCD, CGP, FAGPA.  We were impressed with her style and leadership and invited her to present at the Mid Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society. Happily, she agreed.
Karen will be presenting, "Desires to Lead: Perils and Passions." She lives and practices in Baton Rouge, LA and has been a leader in AGPA governance, her affiliate, and both clinical and teaching practices. This is a particularly important time in our country and politics to focus on leadership-ours and others-and we hope you will find this conference topic and experience useful to you personally as well as professionally. 
Kathy Reedy, MSW, BCD, CGP will be our guest small group leader. She hails from Kentucky and has been active in leadership in AGPA as well as in her local affiliate.  She and I met at AGPA many years ago and our friendship is an example of how close ties begin and develop through our group organization. 
We are at our favorite site for our Spring Conferences: Saint Elizabeths Hospital. Dr. Farooq Moyhuddin and the staff at this beautiful and historic mental health facility graciously extend a welcome to us each year.

During the weekend, Corcoran Caterers will bring meals to St. E's. They will provide Saturday and Sunday breakfasts and Saturday lunch, all included in the cost of the conference. 

Register by Friday, March 24 for the best rate and a guaranteed space. 
No walk-in registrations will be accepted.

Visit  http://group.magps.org/conferences  for full conference details. 
Please join us on April 1-2, 2017! 
What's Inside
Parting Words from the President
by Nancy Hafkin, PhD, CGP
Maryetta Andrews-Sachs and Nancy Hafkin The two years since I was elected have flown by!  I am appreciative to the Board of Directors; my generous mentors-Past-Presidents, Maryetta Andrews-Sachs, Farooq Mohyuddin, and Lenore Pomerance; and to the MAGPS members who made this responsibility so easy to shoulder. 

During the last two years, we have continued our tradition of successful Conferences. We have offered Scholarships to students and provided training and connection to practitioners from many backgrounds and orientations. We are continuing to reach out to the larger community, offering opportunities to learn and connect. And we are hard at work to keep the organization vital and growing.

I look forward to our Spring Conference,  Desires to Lead: Perils and Passions. I will be transferring my responsibilities to the capable hands of the next President, Lorraine Wodiska, and welcome her to the helm of MAGPS. She brings with her years of experience with our organization and superb leadership skills. I intend to offer her the same support that has so benefitted me.

I would like to leave you with this final message: People bring their issues to Group because Group is the place where they can  have their problems and work them through. The work we accomplish in our groups is transformative. Unsurprisingly, I have been transformed by my work with MAGPS, as I experienced being nurtured, supported, stretched and challenged in my role as your President.  Thank you, truly. I look forward to connecting with you at Spring Conference. 

An Interview with Our 
Spring Conference Presenter, 
Karen Travis LCSW, BCD, CGP, FAGPA
by Nancy Hafkin, PhD, CGP
Here is a preview of our upcoming weekend!

Nancy:  The theme of the Conference, is "Desires to Lead, Perils and Passions."  Can you begin by telling us about your interest in the topic?

Karen:  I think leadership is fraught with vicissitudes. Being a leader opens oneself to criticism, scrutiny, praise, envy, and competition-just to name a few. I was once given a plaque that said, " Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." While I do like comfort, I have found that when I stretch myself, I learn about my inner self.  Presenting at MAGPS is stretching myself and bolstering myself. I want to give and I believe I will be given to.  And yet, there are so many ways to be a leader without being front and center.  What got me interested in the topic is being mentored and then mentoring. It was there, in those relationships, that I found I could make a difference. I lead therapy groups, supervision groups, and recently developed a masters and new professional training series as a way to raise money for the Group Foundation.
Nancy:  Was Leadership taught in your graduate program?  Who or what influenced you in this area?  How did it become a focus of your work?
Karen:  Leadership was not taught in my graduate program. As an undergrad, I was introduced to group therapy by a gentle, yet powerful leader who taught using lecture and videotaping of the class, which became a group after the lecture. Our class was devastated when he took his own life. Seemingly, he struggled with peril, passion, and pain. 

In graduate school, I chose group as a specialization. Sue Jensen introduced me to AGPA and my local affiliate. I am forever grateful to my AGPA mentor, Etta Martin, who stretched me and believed in me.  She epitomized the true meaning of mentorship: Her goal for me was that I surpass her in accomplishments.  She pushed hard and asked tough questions. She operated 'at the margins' and knew when to draw back.  Best of all, she listened.
My first AGPA leadership role was on the Membership Committee. I became Chair of that Committee and then ran for Affiliate Chair, Secretary, and then President. I taught the AGPA core course with Doug Greve. Mary Dluhy was one of the first AGPA 'senior' members who was kind and encouraging of me.  Later, I presented with Etta Martin on mentoring and leadership. I have learned so much about leadership by mentoring and being mentored.
Nancy:  Can you provide a brief overview of what participants will learn about the importance of leadership in the therapeutic relationship?
Karen:  When we understand our own history of leaders and leadership, we become better equipped to listen to our clients and their desires to be a leader. So many of our clients come to us seeking to understand themselves and how they have experienced manipulation from others. Perhaps they have been in the role of manipulator. If we listen, inquire, and create dialogue, healing can happen.
Nancy:  What do you consider to be some of the essential skills a group therapist must possess in order to be a good leader?
Karen:  Skills and personal qualities are both necessary!  COURAGE, grace under pressure, the capacity to take a risk, flexibility, sitting with uncertainty, understanding of group formation, and attending to task and emotion. I am reminded of Pearl Rosenberg's article in  Comprehensive Group Psychotherapy on the essential qualities of the group psychotherapist. Pearl was Etta's AGPA mentor and I consider her my mentoring grandmother.
About the Presenter
Karen S. Travis, LCSW, BCD, CGP, FAGPA

Karen Travis a licensed clinical social worker in Baton Rouge, LA, has been in clinical practice for 36 years. She works in private practice, leads groups for an IOP/PHP agency, supervises new professionals, and teaches from the groups she runs with psychiatric residents. She stays active in her local AGPA affiliate (Louisiana Group Psychotherapy Society--LGPS), and has served on the board as Treasurer, President, and Affiliate Representative. She continues to chair the LGPS annual institute. Additionally, Karen has held many leadership positions in the AGPA. Currently she is chair of the Group Foundation for Advancing Mental Health and serves on the AGPA Executive Board as well as the Board of Directors. She has presented nationally and internationally.

Yalom, in The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy,
advises that the basic posture of the leader is concern, acceptance, genuineness, and empathy.

Nancy:  What has been the most surprising thing that you have discovered when people are discussing leadership and family of origin?
Karen:  When people make the connection between how parents led the family and how they themselves lead, they are often truly astonished. That, in itself, can be surprising. 

Nancy:  Our country is certainly struggling with leadership at this time. Our nation appears to be headed for even more dissension. Do you have ideas for how group therapists remain true to our values in times of troubled leadership?

Karen:  First and foremost--know your values, clarify and then re-clarify them. Therapists become disillusioned with agencies, insurance companies, universities, even private practice. We must keep in mind why we are doing our work, how we came to the profession, and the ethics that guide us. I think it is important that, with our clients, we speak of dissenting views. I found it interesting that my clients whose candidate won the Presidential election said nothing of the election. Those on the other side came in frightened and sad. 

Nancy:  What do you hope Conference attendees take away from this weekend?

Karen:  My hope is each of you take away a deeper and richer understanding of your desires to lead, fears that may block those desires, an appreciation for self, and the willingness to explore this aloud over the weekend.

Nancy:  What are you hoping the weekend will bring to you?

Karen:  I feel honored to be asked to present at your Conference. When you and Lorraine approached me last year at AGPA, I was touched, surprised and appreciative. One of the things I hope the weekend will bring me is another chance to believe in myself as a leader. Each time I present, there is anxiety and stretching.  As I said earlier, one can and will be examined as a leader. I hope the weekend with strengthen ongoing relationships and that I can begin to build new ones. My goals are to be fully present, to listen, and to trust you---the Group.
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.

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 Saturday, March 18.

Questions? Email  conferences@magps.org
turning the focus on exciting things going on in the MAGPS community
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 presenter David Heilman, himself a Juilliard-trained singer, explores the intensity of competition, and how competitive feelings can be stirred up (and faced) in Group. Click here for more information.

Grace Riddell LCSW, LICSW spoke on a panel at "Finding Freedom: An LGBTQ Symposium" sponsored by Michael's House which is part of Foundations Recovery Network in Palm Springs, CA January 13-15, 2017. The topic was, "Culturally Responsive Services for LGBTQ Patients." Other 
panelists included Cheryl Houk; Thomas Freese, PhD; and Chris Thomas MS, MFTI. 

This workshop provided a detailed overview of substance abuse and other health related issues among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals, which intended to help improve the awareness and response of treatment providers (including physicians, dentists, nurses, and other allied medical staff, therapists and social workers, and counselors, specialists, and case managers) to the needs of LGBT clients. Key topics presented included epidemiological data data focused on LGBT substance use trends and HIV prevalence; health related issues and provider considerations to support the move to improve treatment effectiveness; and evidence-based and promising clinical strategies. A portion of the workshop focused specifically on the substance use and HIV risk factors of racial and ethnic young men who have sex with men.

2017-2019 Education Program Proposal
by Sally Brandel, PhD

The Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society (MAGPS) has a 50+ year tradition of providing continuing education and training opportunities for its members. The Society has long organized weekend conferences that combine didactic and experiential learning about group psychotherapy and group dynamics. MAGPS continues to offer additional training opportunities-more recently, a specialized training in leading process groups and, through our Outreach Program, several free training sessions in leading psychotherapy groups. Our Cinema Series meets informally 5-6 evenings annually with members and guests enjoying meals together and a discussion of group dynamics as depicted in each film. MAGPS provides scholarships for graduate students and medical residents to participate in these activities as well as the national meetings of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. A lot is going on! Can we do more? Yes. 
Three Proposals for Enhancing our Educational Programs 

1.    Adopt a theme and set of questions that will help to integrate our learning for a period of two years, coinciding with the installation of a new President. The theme and questions are intended to be relevant across all conferences, trainings, and other educational activities of MAGPS. The proposed theme and questions for 2017-2018:

Theme:   The practice of group psychotherapy in times of national upheaval presents opportunities and dilemmas.
  • In today's US political and economic climate, what are the challenges to our ethical and moral values as therapists leading groups, and as leaders in MAGPS and AGPA?
  • How does dissent and disruption promote and/or harm the mental health of different group members and therapists?
  • In what ways are MAGPS leaders, members, and our patients living both inside and outside the "bubble" of liberal privilege? How can we contribute to the healing of national divisions around race, class, gender, religion, and other difference? 
2.     Build a Continuing Education team to support MAGPS programs. The team would develop templates for Conference Chairs and Training Directors that can easily incorporate new content and learning objectives. The team could use existing web-based technologies like Survey Monkey to reduce the time and paperwork involved with evaluations and the awarding of certificates.

3.     Offer time-limited, peer reading groups for the study of group psychotherapy theory and practice. For example, in the fall of 2017 form a group that would meet 3-4 times to study selected papers on Large Group dynamics written by Earl Hopper.
Next Steps:
The MAGPS Board has positively reviewed the proposal and will vote to adopt the two-year program at its next Board meeting just before the Spring Conference.
We will discuss the new program, particularly the theme and questions, with members attending the Spring Conference at St. Es.  
Members can help plan and participate in the peer reading group and join the CE coordinator's team.  
As the MAGPS Board's Program Director, I welcome your suggestions and thoughts about the proposal. Please feel free to email me at  s.brandel@verizon.net.

Challenging Political Times: 
Come to the "Median Group" 
and Let's Talk  About Them

In the spirit of Patrick de Maré's work,  Rose McIntyre, LCSW, CGP, AKRI Consultant Candidate  and her NGPI colleagues have organized a monthly M edian Group  at the Washington School of Psychiatry. The group is designed to transform hate while building impartial fellowship ("Koinonia") so members can "humanize society." In the M edian Group,  members will work toward building the art of dialogue; uncovering implicit and explicit biases; better understanding social and cultural issues; and increasing acceptance and tolerance to the differences amongst us. Rose and her colleagues hope that the monthly groups will allow members to build bridges while gaining acceptance, curiosity, and respect for difference within our communities.  

The Median Group welcomes both return and new member participants. Events are free for all (you do not need to be a member of MAGPS, WSP to attend) and participation is flexible-you are invited to attend as your schedule permits, and do not need to be a therapist to participate. Prospective members are asked to engage in a dialogue or email connection prior to attending, so one of the organizers can provide initial information, shared readings, and answer any questions you might have. Additional information is provided below.  

One Sunday per month from 2-4 PM
April 9; May 7; June 11
July 9;  August 6; 
September 10; October 1; 
November 5; December 3 

Washington School of Psychiatry
5028 Wisconsin Ave NW
Suite #400
Washington DC 20016

For more i nformation, please contact 
Rose McIntyre ( yethappens@verizon.net ; 301-237-0741), or
Diane Shaffer (
dcshaffer26@gmail.com ).
Advertisements from Our Community Members
Openings in Two Clinician-Focused Groups
Each group is co-facilitated by: 
Trish Cleary, MS, LCPC-MFT-ADC, CGP, FAGPA and 
Ginger Sullivan, MA, LPC, CGP, FAGPA.

These two specialized groups each meet once a month for a 
two hour session at Trish Cleary's office:
5119 Bradley Boulevard, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Both Trish and Ginger are Certified Group Psychotherapists, AGPA Instructor 
Designate Trainers and LGPC Supervisors
approved by Maryland and DC.
Contact Trish:  trishcleary@comcast.net, 301-654-4936 or
Ginger: vmsmail@aol.com, (202) 265-5855
Process Group for Therapists
For Licensed Area Clinicians
Meets one Friday a month: 3 to 5 PM
LGPC Psychodynamic Supervision Group
For LGPCs in Maryland & DC 
Meets one Saturday a month: 2 to 4 PM
Visit our Websites for more information about these groups: 
A Look Back at the Fall Conference...

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

by Nancy Hafkin, PhD, CGP & Rose McIntyre, LCSW, CGP
Fall 2016 Conference Co-Chairs

At the Fall Conference, Scott Conkright, PsyD met with us in Cambridge, Maryland to consider attachment, loss and desire in group psychotherapy from a Lacanian perspective. We were thrilled to have the Red Well Theater Group performing  Dinner with Friends to illustrate these themes.

We had 85 in attendance with small groups led by Trish Cleary and Ginger Sullivan, Margo London, Ron Kimball and Karen Eberwein, Joan Medway, Bob Schulte and Katherine Smith, Paul Timin, Farooq Mohyuddin, and our Guest Small Group Leader, Macario Giraldo. Our attendees included long-time members of MAGPS, first-time attendees, residents from St. Elizabeths and students from George Washington University. There were 20 Scholarship recipients. The Friday evening reception facilitated the integration of students and first-time attendees into the Conference. They were also matched with Mentors and these were invited to lunch together on Saturday. The Banquet on Saturday evening was preceded by a short Community Meeting and followed by music and dancing.

Dr. Conkright led three plenary sessions and two demonstration groups. Some of the pertinent topics included intimacy vs. closeness, illusion, desire, lack, and love. The work of the innovative and dissident French psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan, was explained to us by Dr. Conkright. We came to understand that "lack" is a human characteristic and never resolved. We learned about j ouissance and Lacan's three Registers (Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real) to understand symbolism and the meaning of our words.  As human beings who are both speaking and desiring, we explored the stories that we tell. As therapists, we are encouraged to learn the benefit of writing different stories, allowing ourselves and our clients to have a life journey of choice. There was no lack of stimulating discussion, challenging dialogue, and exchange of knowledge. We were left with the desire for continued Lacanian study and dialogue.

On Saturday afternoon, we were treated to a compelling performance of  Dinner with Friends , directed by Rob Williams, facilitated by Bob Schulte, and acted by Mary Dluhy, John Dluhy, Liz Marsh, and Yavar Moghimi. The play presents the story of a couple who reevaluate their marriage after their closest friends, another couple, decide to split up after twelve years. The concepts of love and loss, illusion and reality were powerfully illustrated by the performance.

With cooperative weather, a truly beautiful setting, talented teachers, and wonderful company, the Fall Conference was a fine opportunity to learn and play in Maryland.
A special thank you to David Heilman - our Fall Conference Photographer!
Macario Giraldo, 
 Guest Small Group Leader
Scott Conkright and Rose McIntyre shooting some pool
Rose, Ron Kimball, and Karen Eberwein enjoying one another's company
Fall 2016 Conference Reflections from our 
Scholarship Winners and First-Time Attendees
Lisa B. Haileab, MT 
The conference greatly contributed to my development as a future practicing psychologist. I was able to speak to my own desires, hopes, intentions and fears in a group where I was both challenged and validated. I was challenged to authentically speak to my feelings in a group setting. It was both anxiety provoking and gratifying; a  jouissance .
Xuejing Li, MD
This is the second time I have attended a MAGPS conference, and had a totally different (better) experience than two years ago. This time I could always bring myself to the "here and now," was able to relate to other group members, and appreciated better how leader guided and directed the group. This group experience set us great example on how to lead a high-functioning group, and was a valuable experience added to our residency training.
Lauren Pengrin, MD
This was my second year attending a MAGPS conference. I had a wonderful time and felt very welcomed and supported by the members and facilitators. I feel this experience will enrich my group leadership skills as a trainee. The main themes and topics were very applicable to my practice and were enjoyable to discuss with fellow conference attendees and colleagues. The small group sessions remain my favorite aspect of the conference. It is wonderful to be a part of a group to experience the group dynamics in a different role, with fellow therapists of all backgrounds and levels of training. I believe I have learned many new skills to bring to my group and my fellow psychiatrists-in-training.
Ulziibat Person, MD
First of all I would like to thank Dr. Mohyuddin, Program director at St. Elizabeths Hospital and Dr. Volkov for encouraging  me to participate.  This was the first time I attended a Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society  meeting. I enjoyed watching the theatrical play presentation of  Dinner with Friends . From  this play, I learned about intimacy and the different stages of marital relationships. I also learned about Lacan's theory of  desire  and  lack .

In the small group, I gained deeper understanding of my own suffering because of my desire to become a resident and losses I've experienced as a result of this desire. I was happy I was able to share my experience with my fellow group members and appreciated the direction from our leaders during discussion. I also enjoyed listening to other members' experiences of desire, loss, lack and grief. I observed how to examine interpersonal dynamics; how to facilitate the expressions of thoughts and feelings in group; and what we can learn from them.

Overall, the MAGPS meeting was a wonderful experience and it benefited me both professionally and personally. Professionally, it helped me have deeper understanding about psychotherapy as I am pursuing a dream to become a psychiatrist. Personally, it helped me be more comfortable expressing my feelings. I would enthusiastically recommend future meeting for others to attend. I am personally looking forward to attending the next conference.
A isha Siddiqa, MD
Prior to conference, everything was facilitated-my scholarship was arranged and a reservation made in hotel at nominal price. When I arrived at the conference, my mentor spoke to me and discussed the topic and process of the conference. The conference itself was unique experience for me, the first of its kind. I enjoyed learning from the experience and am now applying the concepts I learnt from the small groups to the groups we do at Saint Elizabeths Hospital.
Abhishek Wadhawan, MD

This event gave me a new perspective on the dynamics of a highly functional group. I could see how to apply certain principles that are core to group therapy. Lacan's theory was a new way to look at the processes happening in the group, and overall this conference was a great learning experience. The location of the event was amazing as well.
Zixuan Wang, MPsy
I am so glad I came to this conference. Although I have had some experience with conducting group therapy, I have never been in one myself. Therefore, I was feeling quite nervous before my arrival. I knew we were going to discuss some heavy stuff: attachment, loss, and desire-things I have been struggling with, maybe just like everyone else there. But I was also excited, as I did not know what I was going to reveal, who I was going to connect with, and how much I was going to learn.

My overall experience with the conference turned out to be much more intimate than I expected, especially with the small group sessions. I felt truly appreciative for being in my small group, with such open, sincere, and supportive group members and leaders. As someone whose default mode is conflict avoidant, I was anxious about the possible emergence of hostility and aggression in the group dynamics. To my surprise, there was very little overt conflict in our group. One hypothesis was that being in an all-female group (with a male co-leader) pulled for alliance among the members. Moreover, being in a group with high-functioning professionals helped to speed up the process. Together, we went into depth with efficiency, and passed through the different phases of a group: forming, storming, and norming. We mourned our own histories of loss, shared our sadness, expressed our appreciation, and found a sense of connection from one another's vulnerability, wisdom, and tenderness. It was an incredible group journey.  

The play,  Dinner with Friends was another highlight of my experience at the conference. Observing two couples in a "fishbowl," dealing with their own desires and loss, made me feel like a voyeur. The conflicts among the characters made me feel so uncomfortable yet so connected-as if I were watching myself in my own relationship, dealing with similar conflicts that I have yet to resolve. Watching actors play these issues out right in front of me was painfully thrilling. It also helped me to have a better understanding of Lacan's "mirror stage" concept. Through the observational experience, I identified the "image in the mirror," a gestalt of my perception of selfhood in relationships.  

Thank you to MAGPS for organizing such an amazing conference.

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Thank you for taking the time to read our bi-yearly newsletter. Please let us know what you think by emailing Sonia Kahn, PsyD at newsletter@magps.org