Spring 2018 Newsletter
Volume 26, Issue 1 
Editor's Note:
Since taking on the role of MAGPS Newsletter Editor in 2016, I have worked to maintain our bi-yearly newsletter as a way for our community members to reconnect in advance of our two conferences. The articles in this newsletter and themes of our community events reflect our current educational mission: addressing the challenges of our current political and economic climate poses to our ethical and moral values as group therapists and leaders.  This has meant adding two columns: the Cinema Series column--helmed by Lenore Pomerance, MSW--which previews and recaps the season's screening events, and the Outreach Committee's interview series--the brainchild of Venus Masselam, PhD--which honors our senior members and the legacies they have left on our decades-old organization. Be sure to check them out!

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
MAGPS Spring Conference: "Cultural Competence, Spirituality, and Transcendence in Times of Crises" with Alexis Abernathy, PhD, CGP, FAGPA 
by Cristina Secara, MD,  Co-chair of the Spring 2018 Conference
As Conference Co-Chairs, Farooq Mohyuddin, PhD, CGP, FAPA and I have the honor to invite you to the MAGPS Spring 2018 Conference. We are excited about our guest presenter, Alexis Abernethy, PhD, CGP, FAGPA, and the theme of the conference "Cultural Competence, Spirituality, and Transcendence in Times of Crises." As always, the Conference Committee has put a lot of thought into choosing the conference theme, and this year we have worked to match the theme with our organization's current mission of helping therapists to work effectively and compassionately in a challenging political and societal climate. The 2018 Spring Conference is an opportunity for MAGPS members to come together while discussing and processing events, reactions, and feelings associated with our current political challenges under the guidance of a national expert. 

Our presenter, Dr. Alexis Abernathy, is a Professor in the Graduate School of Psychology at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (see full bio below ). She will present an intentional group therapeutic approach that uses metaphors and cultural diversity as opportunities for bridging differences. She will highlight how a therapeutic posture that incorporates a spiritual perspective can inform and transcend the divisions reflected in our current national climate. 

We continued the tradition of inviting a small group leader from one of our affiliate organizations. This year we are joined by Cheryl Kalter, PhD, LPC, CGP from San Antonio, TX, where she is in private practice, focusing on individual adult, group, and couples therapy and works as part of the multi-disciplinary Liver Transplant Team at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital and Clinic, in San Antonio where she provides psychological evaluations and support for liver transplant patients and their caregivers. She is highly involved in AGPA and SAGPS, works in fiber arts, and is interested in the similarities between the artistic process and the therapy process in group and individual therapy.

With the spirit of the conference theme in mind, the Conference Committee choose small group leaders with diverse professional backgrounds, interests, cultural expertizes. The conference location could not have been a better choice: the historical Saint Elizabeths Hospital in the diverse and multicultural city of Washington, DC. Even the two conference chairs, Farooq Mohyuddin and I, come from different cultural backgrounds but have much in common. And of course we do: Dr. Mohyuddin has been my mentor and supervisor; he's someone I look up to with gratitude and respect and learn from every day.

If you are interested in widening your cultural competence, learning about spiritual transcendence, group process, or something new about yourself, or just interested in meeting therapists in our region, s ave the date! 
Please join us on April 21-22, 2018! 
Artwork: "Sacred Grounds" -  Original painting by Rayhart -  www.rayhart.com  

Register by Friday, April 13 for the best rate and a guaranteed space. 
No walk-in registrations will be accepted.
Scholarships are available. Click here to learn more.

Visit  http://group.magps.org/conferences  for full conference details. 
What's Inside

Letter from the President
by Lorraine Wodiska, PhD, ABPP
We are finally approaching Spring Thaw after a surprisingly cold winter blast! While the Mid-Atlantic region was frozen during January weather, I was in Antarctica (celebrating my 50th wedding anniversary) with far warmer temperatures in their summertime.

50 years ago, it was 1967 and the country was also struggling to manage the multiple strains and celebrations in our society. A very brief review of the 60's: In 1960, we had the first televised presidential debates, with only two candidates and four debates (I was in the 7th grade and it was my homework in Social Studies to watch and report on them). In 1961, JFK made his Man on the Moon speech and boomed, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country!" Many of us were enthralled. In 1962, we had the Cuban Missile Crisis and the newspaper headlines all addressed the possibility of nuclear war. In 1963 (while I was in high school), JFK was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr, made his I Have a Dream speech, and Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique. In 1964, the Free Speech movement began at UC Berkeley and we heard the phrase, "Don't trust anyone over 30." In 1965, Lyndon Johnson sent troops to Vietnam (and my husband was drafted at age 18). Hawks and doves divided the country: the elders had American flags on their windows (America, Love it or Leave It!) and a younger generation of doves was burning draft cards and wearing necklaces and tee shirts that said, "War is not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things." In 1968, MLK was assassinated (at the Lorraine Motel) and two months later, Robert F. Kennedy was shot in a hotel while celebrating a political victory. In 1969, Neil Armstrong took the first step on the moon, and the happy, hazy, weedy Woodstock happened on a farm in Vermont. I was 21.

How did we survive those times? There is no easy answer here but I believe in some deep way, we trusted the group process. As I recall, polarized factions barely tolerated one another; we screamed and demonstrated but we did not surrender completely to despair. We reveled in the good news and progress. As Boomers, we persevered; we demanded to have our say in the change (passionately believing we had the right message). Meanwhile, dark messages bubbled forth from those we did not respect and perhaps foolishly, we refused to listen. We marched on Washington and wanted to drown out the other messages. Perhaps there are some similar lessons for us as group therapists. Although it is always more frightening to be living during fractious times rather than reflect upon other times, it is possible that an examination of the 1960's provides a helpful perspective. We have little choice but to allow what we consider the darker side to come forward: the anti-group. What does group psychoanalyst Morris Nitsun suggest? He reminds us that there are negative, disruptive elements that threaten to undermine and even destroy the group; but, when expressed, named, and contained, they have the potential to mobilize the group's creative process. So, we must listen to one another. And find a constructive path forward. Hopefully, this affirms our mission to work as effective and compassionate therapists in our current political and societal climate.

As always, this is an invitation to join us as we inexorably move forward, looking for optimism and using our talents and dreams to guide us.
In these turbulent times, when divisions seem more prominent and the first impulse seems to be judgment rather than understanding, one way forward may be to explore how groups can help promote an environment conducive to sharing one's story; developing virtues, such as patience, compassion, and gratitude; transcending crises; and moving toward transformational connections.

Dr. Alexis Abernathy has created a conference that is responsive to our mission to work as effective and compassionate therapists in a challenging political and societal climate. She will present an international group therapeutic approach that uses metaphors and cultural diversity as opportunities for bridging differences. She will also highlight how a therapeutic posture which incorporates a spiritual perspective that informs and transcends the divisions reflected in our current national climate is helpful to our work as group therapists and our lives as mental health professionals in our community. 

On behalf of MAGPS and the Washington School of Psychiatry, 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, April 7.

Questions? Email  conferences@magps.org

An Interview with Our 
Spring Conference Presenter, 
Alexis D. Abernathy, PhD, CGP, FAGPA
by Rose McIntyre, LCSW, CGP
On behalf of MAGPS, I had the pleasure of speaking with Alexis Abernethy PhD, CGP, FAGPA about our Spring 2018 Conference where she will present on "Cultural Competence, Spirituality, and Transcendence in Times of Crises."
Dr. Abernethy is from Annapolis, MD and went to Howard University. She also lived in New York for 12 years and has lived in Southern California for 20 years.
She has a wealth of experience on the issues of diversity, cultural competence and spirituality, which she has acquired across decades of working clinically, conducting research, and teaching. Her belief in the importance of hearing others' stories resonated throughout our conversation. Despite the national and global challenges of our times, Dr. Abernathy is encouraged, as she sees people coming together with hope, compassion, and generosity, with a deepened commitment to transformation and creating change.
When I asked Dr. Abernethy what she would like people to gain from the conference, she said that she hopes people come with an openness and willingness to hear and grow with one another, so they can learn something new about themselves. Her desire is that attendees will leave with a new understanding of their own story and attend to someone else's story in a way that that transfers to their work. She believes that when we engage in dialogue and bridge our differences, we have the opportunity to understand ourselves and others more fully and deepen our connections.
When I asked Dr. Abernethy to differentiate spirituality and religion, she said that both related to "a search for the sacred." However, religion often is identified in the context of an institution or organized religious belief system, where spirituality is not. Spirituality is typically more personal. Spiritual transcendence refers to a perspective or orientation that allows one to move beyond, or transcend an immediate experience or situation through one's connection to a deity, God, higher power, or a greater good. This transcendence enables the individual to resist being defined by a particular experience.
We spoke about the work of building virtues of patience, compassion, and gratitude, and making an effort to transcend crises so we are not stuck in judgment and division. I asked Dr. Abernethy about potential bridges and barriers to this work.
About the Presenter
Alexis D. Abernathy, PhD, 
Dr. Alexis Abernathy is a Professor in the Graduate School of Psychology at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. She received her BS in Psychology from Howard University and her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from University of California, Berkeley. She completed her Internship at our very own Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC. Since that time, she has focused her career as a professor, therapist supervisor, consultant, researcher, and scholar in the fields of Cultural Competence, Spirituality and Health, and Group Psychotherapy.
Dr. Abernathy has written dozens of articles and presented at national professional meetings in these areas as they relate to group psychotherapy. She is currently the Co-Chair of the AGPA Annual Meeting Committee and has helped form successful AGPA conferences over the past several years.

She said that the first bridge is to realize that there is a bridge. She emphasized that we do not have to allow crises and tragedies to define us. Even the greatest obstacles provide opportunities for developing new strengths and dimensions of ourselves. Through dialogue, sharing our stories, and listening to the stories of others, we can work through differences and barriers. We can connect through our common humanity.

It was a pleasure speaking with Dr. Abernethy. I look forward to April 21 and 22nd and the MAGPS Spring Conference. My desire is to arrive open and willing to learn more about myself and others. I hope you will choose to join me.
Suggested Pre-Conference Readings
Abernethy, A. D. (2012).  A spiritually informed approach to group psychotherapy. In J. L.Kleinberg (Ed.),  The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Group Psychotherapy (pp. 681-705). Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons.


Cornish, M. A., Wade, N. G., & Knight, M. A. (2013). Understanding group therapists use of spiritual and religious interventions in group therapy. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 63(4), 573-591. 


Harrison, R. L., & Westwood, M. J. (2009). Preventing vicarious traumatization of mental health therapists: Identifying protective practices. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 46(2), 203-219.

turning the focus on exciting things going on in the MAGPS community

Cinema Series Update - 
Happenings in the 2017-2018 Cinema Season
by Lenore M. Pomerance, MSW
MAGPS Cinema Series Chair 

The MAGPS Cinema Series presents four movies during Fall, Winter and Spring. Since the MAGPS Board passed a resolution to devote our educational programs to addressing today's critical political and social justice issues, the past three Cinema Series presenters have responded with films reflecting these themes. Last September,  Maryetta Andrews-Sachs, LICSW, CGP, FAGPA  and her husband Bob Zeskind brought us Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator." While funny and horrifying, no one could miss the similarities between the protagonist and today's leadership. As our Cinemas Series interviewer,  Judy Tyson, MS, PhD, CGP  wrote in our Fall 2017 Newsletter:

The Great Dictator provoked intense reactions, both in its time and in our Cinema Series viewing. Many of us left with thoughts of how to make a difference: pay attention to the silence. Silence can take many forms (e.g., chaos, disagreement, rage, fear). In its presence, the bully takes unlimited powers. As we watched The Great Dictator, we were reminded of the horror and destruction of so many lives that Hitler orchestrated. We must face the grim historical fact: whether Hitler was made fun of, ignored, minimized, or affirmed, for years, socio-political forces of silence and abstention allowed him to maintain his power and destroy whatever (or whomever) he chose to destroy... until he was stopped.
You can read her full cogent movie review and reflections in the Fall issue of the MAGPS newsletter on our website.
Then in December, Membership Co-chair Liz Marsh, LICSW, presented the engaging and equally disturbing film "Cabaret." Liz said she was excited about being on the Board and felt inspired by the Board's theme when she decided to participate more directly in the Cinema Series. As Liz pointed out in her interview with Judy Tyson:

Cabaret is an interesting choice because it takes place at a tipping point in history. The film, Cabaret, is a musical based on a story by Christopher Isherwood. Isherwood's autobiographical story takes place in Berlin in the 1930's, the critical years when the Nazis were coming into power. The musical is about a community of "others." We see how they choose to respond to a rising threat. This is a threat that may or may not impact them directly.
Liz feels it behooves us not to ignore or be bystanders in what's happening around us, but to get involved, and dialog with those that are different from us.          
In February, Mentorship Chair, Raquel Willerman, PhD, LCSW, screened the film "Get Out" with her partner Warren Levy. Here are her reflections:
It was a pleasure to eat dinner and view the movie, "Get Out" with over 30 MAGPS members and friends at the home of our President, Lorraine Wodiska. I chose to show "Get Out" because I wanted to focus our attention on one person's (e.g., Jordan Peele, the writer and director of the movie) subjective experience as a Black man in America. I thought this movie spoke directly to some unconscious processes that help keep racism alive, such as White people's envy of (and perceived entitlement to) anything and everything that a Black person could innately have. But also, there is the question of unbearable truths that I think the basic premise of the movie encapsulates so well. Conscious and unconscious racism, with its roots in slavery, continues to have such an outrageously violent effect on Black people, that the absurd, sci-fi, horror genre expresses an essential truth about the psychic reality of Black men and women better, perhaps, that a more journalistic or documentary genre could express. 
I had been self-conscious of my Whiteness in preparing for this event. I questioned my own motives for showing this movie. Was this an attempt to be the 'good White person' who then avoids her own complicity in racism and conflicts around her white privilege?  I worried that I (or others) would unintentionally step into some kind of racialized enactment and people would get their feelings hurt or get mad at me and see the parts of me that allow racism to happen. Frankly, having to worry about other people's reactions to my skin color, my me-ness, impinged greatly on my ability to think flexibly or optimistically. The tension in my body was palpable. Yet, I knew that my self-consciousness about my skin color was only the faintest taste of what people of color face every day in America.
However, I felt much different after the discussion of the movie. The diverse group consisted of people of various ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds and I was so grateful to everyone who courageously shared their experiences and perspectives. I learned that some people felt the humor in the movie trivialized their experiences as Black people.  Others resonated with the absolute fear and mortal danger that exists for Black people in spaces where White people feel safe and good. I felt that the group was able to hold the tensions that might be expected to exist after viewing such a movie, and were genuinely curious about one anothers' experiences.

I am really glad we showed the movie and that there were so many people like Lenore, Judy, Sally, Cristina, and Lorraine who worked so hard to support the event.
Thanks to everyone who came!

Brian Cross, PhD  will be presenting the 2014 film Force Majeure, on April 7, 2018 at   Lorraine and Dan Wodiska's house, Saturday, April 7.  The  The New York Times describes  Force Majeure  as a  "dark Swedish   comedy... just under the surface of a seemingly blissful   marriage run fissures that a sudden jolt can tear open to   reveal a crumbling edifice. That's the unsettling reality   explored with a merciless lens in the Swedish director   Ruben Ostlund's fourth feature film." 

Be sure to bring your long distance   glasses for those subtitles. And watch the Cinema Series page on the MAGPS website for Judy  Tyson's interview with Brian.

Lorraine and Dan Wodiska's House
6014 N 28th St.
Arlington, VA 22207
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Dinner: 5:45 pm
Movie: 6:30 pm
David Heilman, M.Psy. published an article entitled "The Potential Role for Group Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Internalized Homophobia in Gay Men"  in the June 2017 (68:1) issue of the  International Journal of Group Psychotherapy. 


On March 18, 2018,  Venus Masselam, PhD presented "Impact of Longevity: Defining the Adult Aging Stage and Understanding Changes that Need to be Made as Therapists"  at The Baltimore Society of Psychoanalytic Studies.
This workshop was concerned with applying family therapy to the Adult Aging Stage of the developmental lifespan, which includes three phases: 55-74, the Young-Old, 75-84, the Old-Old, and 85-On, the Oldest Old (Bernice Neugarten, 1967). During this stage of development, aging adults may endure specific issues, including relationship changes, retirement, and psychological problems related to the side effects of medication, and chronic or terminal illness. Most importantly, this stage requires a different stance for therapists facilitating a democratic therapy setting.

For more information about the subject of this seminar, please read Dr. Masselam's article "Defining and Living in the Aging Adult Stage," which you can find by clicking here.


On July 20-25, 2018, Rose McIntyre, LCSW, CGP will be a consultant at the 54th Annual A.K. Rice International Group Relations Conference, "Die Hard Dreamers: Leadership and Authority in an Era of Disruption" at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Click here for Registration information. 
Interview with Past President  Nina Brown, PhD
by Venus S. Masselam, PhD, CGP, Chair of Project Outreach
Venus: Nina, When did you begin attending MAGPS?

Nina: I came to MAGPS by accident. As a professor at Old Dominion University, I was assigned to teach group counseling because I was the only faculty member who had taken a group course in their doctoral program. Most psychology doctoral programs do not require a group course or even offer a group course today. Their accreditation standards do not require such a course. However, many internships for the psychology doctoral programs do require and offer group training. After being assigned the course, I decided that I needed to know more about groups. I happened, not sure how, to find a conference focused on teaching group headed by Yvonne Agazarian and sponsored by Temple University, where I attended several of these conferences. It was while I was attending one of those conferences that I met a colleague who taught at UVA. He suggested that I join the Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society, and I did. I paid dues for several years but never received notices of meetings or other information. Finally, I did receive a notice of a meeting, the title was of interest, and I decided to attend.

Venus:  What prompted you to take on some active leadership responsibility?

Nina:  I still cannot adequately describe what I experienced at that conference. Mind you, I did not know anyone else at the conference. However, whatever that experience was, I became intrigued about the power that is possible with group therapy and realized that practicing clinicians had much to teach that was not in books or articles, or possible to convey in a lecture. What has also become clearer through the years of attending MAGPS was the importance of the continual development of the group leader's, "essential self," which is always a work in progress.

Attending the many conferences allow me to establish some cordial and enduring close relationships. Although the conferences were only twice a year, each time we reconnected and took up where we left off. It is because of OUR relationships that I am doing this interview.

Venus:  What is your strongest memory of your leadership responsibilities?

Nina:  It felt natural to serve on the committees I joined. Then I was elected Treasurer, and later as President-elect. Carolyn Angelo was President at that time, and Emily Lape was President-elect during my presidency. One thing I will never forget about that period as President-elect was having to plan the conferences, including all of the arrangements. At that time, there was no formal conference committee and I lived in Virginia Beach, which is four driving hours from DC and even further from some other members. This meant that I did not have opportunities to form an informal committee to help with the planning. It was also a time when cell phones were not available, nor was e-mail readily accessible. Thank goodness that has changed and now there is a conference committee.

Venus:  That experience sounds isolating and very trying. What support helped you sustain your interest in MAGPS?

Nina:  The time I spent as President provided me with an opportunity to attend the Affiliate Society's meetings held during the AGPA annual meetings. There I was able to attend the AGPA conference and expand my group psychotherapy knowledge even further. I formed lasting relationships with that organization as well.

But, before I became President, I was able to offer my students enhanced knowledge and understanding of group by having them attend MAGPS conferences. There, they were able to interact with other mental health professionals and experienced clinicians who added to their knowledge about groups and group leadership. MAGPS was a useful resource.

Venus:  Did you continue to be active in MAGPS after your leadership role ended? 

Nina:  It was an honor and privilege to serve as President of MAGPS, an organization that has a rich heritage and continues to grow and develop. The face of group psychotherapy is ever expanding and growing, as well as becoming an effective evidence-based treatment option. It is gratifying to see how the discipline continues to grow, as the field uncovers an understanding how group helps people grow, develop and heal, and in attracting new mental health professionals to specialize in group psychotherapy.

Now, I am more active in AGPA. My current endeavor is to have group psychology and group psychotherapy recognized as a specialty by the American Psychological Association's Council for Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP). This recognition can bring an increased focus on group for doctoral, internship, and formal postdoctoral training programs, and provide a path to the specialty post-licensure for psychologists. It is my hope that the designation of group as a specialty will be extended to the other mental health professional training programs, and to clinicians who are interested in and understand the value of group psychotherapy.

Venus:  Do you have any parting thoughts to share with members of MAGPS?

Nina:  I think my experiences at MAGPS and those during my terms as an officer were important contributors to my continued interest and investment in not only group psychotherapy but in all types of groups. The multidisciplinary nature of MAGPS and AGPA is its strength to bring the power and promise of group to promote public welfare. I am pleased to have been allowed to be a part of these organizations and wish for their continued growth and success.

Venus: Thank you, Nina, for being willing to share your time and wisdom with us.
In Memory of Thomas Rajanayagum Wessel, Ed.D, CGP
In Memoriam
by Maryetta Andrews-Sachs, LICSW, CGP, FAGPA
with the help of 
Ayana Watkins-Northern, PhD, CGP & Reginald Nettles, PhD, CGP

We all stand on the shoulders of others, and Tom Wessel's was an important set of shoulders in terms of removing the stigma that people of color don't do groups, or that group is only for articulate, intelligent people. Tom was a mentee of Dr. Carolyn R. Payton, an African American psychologist and Director of the Howard University Counseling Service (HUCS), later the Dean of Counseling and Career Development at Howard and a huge proponent of multiculturalism and groups. 

Tom began his psychology training at HUCS in the 1970s and very early on fostered the importance of training staff and students about group work in the multicultural milieu and the significance of cultural influence on peoples' lives. Consequently, Tom will be remembered as one of the founders of this perspective. Groups were a significant part of the HUCS treatment model, with Tom being one of the early professionals endorsing and practicing group work with different populations. To that end, Tom encouraged advanced training through such prestigious institutions as the National Training Lab (NTL), The Washington School of Psychiatry (WSP), and the A.K. Rice Institute.   

Tom served as President of MAGPS from 1995-1997. He also worked at Howard University as both Dean and Director of Counseling and Career Development. He was on the Group Faculty at WSP, where he served as the program's Chair for a term. Tom was also a member of the Board for the Christalis Orphanage in Uganda, East Africa--a project and commitment that was very near and dear to his heart.

Tom was a dapper fellow with a killer sense of humor: he loved to tell and hear a good joke. Additionally, Tom was an Ordained Minister of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, where both he and his wife Rathinam (Rathi) served for decades in many important roles. He served as a senior member of the U.S. Peace Corps, where he was directly responsible for providing support services to over 6000 volunteers spread across the globe.

Eleven years ago, Tom received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Though he fought for well over a decade, he died on February 13, 2018. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Rathi, as well as his children Amu and Rajan, their spouses and children.  Tom lived a remarkable life full of love, laughter, and public service; he will be missed. 

As they say in the Jewish tradition: May his memory be a blessing.
Remembering  Nancy Allison Harrington (November 18, 1953-March 26, 2018)
Clinical Psychiatric Social Worker, Group Psychotherapist, Loving Wife, Mother, Sister & Grandmother
On Monday, March 26, 2018, Nancy Allison Harrington (nee Robertson), wife, mother, grandmother and sister, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family at age 64 after a tough fight against brain cancer.

Nancy Harrington, a clinical psychotherapist, had been in private practice since 1996 in the Fairfax area, specializing in individual and group therapy. Prior to that, she had been practicing psychotherapy at the Women's Center in Vienna since 1991. Nancy was a member of several professional organizations, including The Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work, in which she served as President from 2014-2016 and the Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society, of which she served as Secretary on the Board of Directors.

An Air Force fledgling, she lived both overseas in France, Germany and Japan, and here at home in New Mexico, Langley Air Force Base(where she was born) and ultimately in Belle Haven in Alexandria, Virginia where her parents made roots.

She graduated from Trinity College in Washington DC, also her paternal grandmother's alma mater. She later obtained her Master of Social Work Degree from The Virginia Commonwealth University. She received an additional credential for group psychotherapy from The Washington School of Psychiatry.

One of many notable achievements was taking first place in a heated match of horseshoes in 2016 at her family's Irish Games held annually in Duck, North Carolina.

Nancy is survived by her husband David of 42 years, their daughter Tracey Harrington McCoy and her husband Nick McCoy and son Michael Harrington of Fairfax, Virginia. She is also survived by her sisters, Pidge and Dick Amann of Florida and niece Kristen and Jason York of Alexandria, Missy and Denny Stephens of Lorton, and niece Jennifer and Todd Webb of Aldie and Cmdr. Jonathan Stephens and Kelly Knepper USN of San Diego, Ellen Satyshur of Baltimore and niece Nicole and Blair Muneses of Baltimore and nephew Michael and Lauren Satyshur of Baltimore and brother, Rob and Sandi Robertson of Florida.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday April 5, 2018 at 10:30am at St. Ambrose Church: 3901 Woodburn Rd, Annandale, VA 22003. Inurnment at Arlington Cemetery will occur at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Brain Tumor Association (www.abta.org).
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A Look Back at the Fall Conference...

Remembering the Fall 2016 Conference:
 Navigating Trauma in the Large Group 
with Earl Hopper, PhD

by Rose McIntyre, LCSW, CGP and Sally Brandel, 
Fall 2017 Conference Co-Chairs

MAGPS invited Earl Hopper, PhD, CGP, DFAGPA to present the topic, "Navigating Consequences of Traumatic Experiences in the Unconscious Life of Groups - Especially Large(r) Ones" on October 20-22, 2017 at the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

It was a powerful and challenging conference for the seventy-six members attending. Dr. Hopper explained how, in his view, the fear of annihilation connected to trauma shapes our intra-psychic and interpersonal/social lives. Together, as a group, we explored what Dr. Hopper identifies as the 4th Basic Assumption: "Incohesion: Aggregation/Massification." Convening in a Large Group spiral for three of four plenary sessions, we observed how social constructs both define and limit our experience of self and other. Sitting with the unknown and confusion invited us as a group to build individual and collective resilience and curiosity, as well as uncover assumptions, biases, barriers, beliefs, and views. The Small Group Leader team was comprised of Ayana Watkins-Northern, PhD, CGP; Bridgett S. Neamo, PsyD; Joe Wise, MD, CGP; Elaine Klionsky, JD, PhD, CGP; Steve Van Wagoner, PhD, CGP, FAGPA; Venus S. Masselam, PhD, MS, CGP, LMFT; Alex Afram, PhD; Joseph Schmidt, MDiv, PsyD; Farooq Mohyuddin, MD, CGP; and Melinda Mecham Jensen, LPC.

Conference participants also met old and new friends at the Friday reception, had time to explore Shepherdstown on a beautiful Fall Saturday afternoon and share dinner and dancing on Saturday evening.
Snapshots from the Fall Conference 
A special thank you to David Rose - our Fall Conference Photographer!
Maryetta Andrew-Sachs catching up with Ayana Watkins-Northern 
Our speaker, Earl Hopper; Fall Conference co-chair,  Rose McIntyre; & small group leader, Steve Van Wagoner
Marcus Hummings & Maryetta Andrew-Sachs hanging out
 at the  Friday Night welcome event
Earl Hopper joins us on the 
 dance floor!
Sonia Kahn, Joseph Schmidt, & 
Emily Jones take a short 
 dancing break
Liz Marsh teaches 
 MAGPS President Lorraine Wodiska 
to do the 'Cupid Shuffle'!
Tybe Diamond and Reggie Nettles 
 at the banquet
MAGPS loves that so many of the 
 St. Elizabeths staff and interns join us each year!
Bridget Nemo caught on camera :D
Fall 2017 Conference Reflections from our 
Scholarship Winners and First-Time Attendees

Melissa Nicolaou, LPC
I was grateful for the opportunity to learn experientially and didactically, and through both small and large group experiences. The learning space was safe enough that I was able to encounter unconscious assumptions I've held that were challenging to acknowledge. As my work week unfolded after the conference, I realized I was more aware of, receptive to, and willing to speak to group dynamics that I would have either been unaware of previously, or that I would have had difficulty acknowledging and using therapeutically.

Benjamin B.
I feel fortunate enough to be able to have attended this year's fall conference. As a second-time attendee, I am realizing that I have much more to gain and understand. Each time has been a mind opener and I feel as though I've added a great deal of knowledge about myself and others. MAPGS is becoming a tradition for me and continuing to explore where few people dare to go is what will keep me coming back. My fantasy is that members of MAPGS can learn from me as much as I have learned from them.
Faisal Akram, M.D.
It was a tremendous experience attending the MAGPS coference in Shepherdstown, WV. Trauma, the main theme of conference, was both timely and enthralling.  It was interesting to observe the group dynamics and how they evolved over time. I could see the basic assumptions like dependency, fight flight, pairing, aggregation and massification working their way in large and small group. 

The conference was well suited to adopt observer and active roles at different point of times. In small group, I was able to put myself in patients' position. My group facilitators were quite receptive and experienced, and the way they steered the group in difficult situations was amazing. Although my participation was intended solely for learning purposes, I also found it therapeutic.
This was a very memorable experience. The large group process was difficult and complicated, but important. I felt my small group experience, as always, was valuable personally and professionally. I will certainly think about this conference for many weeks to come. And, of course, the MAGPS family was wonderful to work with and spend time with.

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Please let us know what you think by emailing Sonia Kahn, PsyD at newsletter@magps.org