Interview with the Fall Conference Presenter, Dr. Scott Rutan

NancyHafkin001Nancy: The theme of the Conference, “to thine own self be true,” is an interesting concept. I think even Shakespeare contemplated it. Could you begin by telling us about your interest in the topic?

Scott RutanScott: I’ve found that therapists have an innate theory upon which they work. It informs what we listen for and value in each hour. I’ve also found that often therapists are not particularly aware of what theory they follow and how that theory melds with their personality.

Nancy: Can you provide a brief overview of what participants will learn about the importance of being true to ourselves while doing group therapy?

Scott: Hopefully the participants will become more acutely aware of which healing factors they most value… and why they value them.

lighthouse666x500Nancy: Can you tell us how group therapy became a focus of your work? How has it held your interest?

Scott: I suppose the beginning for me came from my father being a musician and from having groups of musicians playing together in my basement for all my growing up years. I became aware that the very best musicians did not necessarily make the best music. Rather, the best music came from the group that performed well together. When I first sat in a therapy group I was instantly reminded that the sum can be greater than the parts.

Nancy: Who or what influenced you toward working with groups? Who are your mentors?

Scott: As above, listening to, and playing in, various musical groups was a major influence…as was my involvement with sports teams. Norman Neiberg, a past president of the AGPA, was a very special mentor. He was my first supervisor. He took me to my first AGPA meeting (and let me stay in his room). He referred me most of my early patients. And I was able to sit as a silent observer in one of his therapy groups for a year, and that remains one of the most important learning opportunities I’ve had.

Nancy: What have been some of the surprising things that you have discovered about yourself or others while doing group therapy?

Scott: I’ve learned that no matter how different people appear, when you get to know them we are all much more alike than we are different.

Nancy: What do you hope participants will take away from attending this weekend’s Conference?

Scott: I hope the participants will come away with even more excitement and conviction about group therapy as probably the most powerful therapeutic modality available for modern patients.

Nancy: Can you share with us what you are hoping for the weekend to bring to you?

Scott: I hope I learn lots of new insights about the task of group therapy from the participants.