As I write this letter to the membership I am filled with a multitude of thoughts and emotions. It is customary for the President of any professional organization to address the membership and write a Presidential Message or proclamation. To me, MAGPS is not just a professional organization but a family. It is the community that has given me a professional identity and a support network when I have needed it. Therefore, rather than proclamations, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for providing the community where I, and many others, have found a place to belong, grow, and foster development in others new to the field. Thank you all.
This year, we celebrate the 60th anniversary. Through the years we have continued to evolve into a vibrant organization with a diversity of experience, which is what I feel is the most outstanding aspect of being a part of this community. Our membership includes some of the most experienced and respected group leaders in the country, as well as energetic, mid level practitioners, and thoughtful, newly minted group therapists. While the interest and membership in many professional organizations promoting psychotherapy has dwindled, we have been able to attract new members and have many new faces in leadership positions on the Board. This is an achievement we share as members of MAGPS and is an attestation to the welcoming atmosphere created by all of you. Our mission of promoting group psychotherapy education and creating a learning community can only be achieved by all of us working together. We also owe a great deal of thanks to the MAGPS leadership, including the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Conference Chairs, Conference Committees and volunteers, who through their hard work, have facilitated making our mission a success.
During my tenure as President, MAGPS leadership and the Board have made it a priority to diversify our membership and have worked to increase participation from psychotherapists working in the public sector. We have also increased minority representation and collaboration with other local organizations. One major step towards this integration has been the collaboration between Saint Elizabeths Hospital/DMH and MAGPS. Additionally, we have nurtured a relationship, which has been mutually beneficial, and has furthered the collaboration between public agencies and private sector. For the first time we invited an institution as presenter; The Washington School of Psychiatry, who was very well received at our Spring 2012 conference. We should be proud of our forward momentum and I would ask all of you to make suggestions about ways to increase these collaborations. Also, we welcome your general suggestions, feedback and guidance.
You likely have also noted that it is time for the next Board election and we, under the leadership of Reginald Nettles and the nominating committee, are in the process of requesting nominations. Please participate actively in this process to continue to elect dynamic leadership to serve our wonderful organization. As we look to the next conference I would like to congratulate the Board and Fall Conference committee on inviting a giant in the field of group psychotherapy, Molyn Lesecz. He will be presenting on “The Effective Group Therapist” at our Fall 2012 conference in Solomons Island, MD. This promises to be an excellent conference and I look forward to seeing everyone there. Also, I would like to acknowledge and thank our new, Newsletter Editor, Karen Eberwein. She, along with the help of Lisa Smith and the MAGPS members who you will hear from on our blog and in our newsletter, has worked tirelessly to bring out our revived newsletter to continue our traditions.
Lastly, while we look with hope to the future of MAGPS, we might also reflect back at the monumental losses that we have had in 2012—Mark Lawrence, Leon Lurie, Beryce MacLennan, Alan Miller, and Sy Rubenfeld. Sadly, we said goodbye to dear friends who gave so much to our organization and the field of Group Psychotherapy. They will be missed.