Report by Venus Massalem
Currently, mental health organizations are desperately seeking to engage young members, as the fear of becoming extinct due to declining membership is sending everyone off in different directions. Our healthy, highly educated, young-old and old-old members are ignored even as their numbers grow. Members in this stage of life have different needs and motivations. In this wondrous life stage, generativity, defined by Erikson as giving back to humanity, is a driving life task.
As an active member of MAGPS who has worn many hats volunteering in leadership roles at MAGPS, I realized that there was a need for other programming beyond the two excellent annual spring and fall conferences. While many doubted the need or the fact that an outreach program could survive, forget about thrive in our society, I believed the time was ripe. While we encourage and actively pursue the beginning students and beginning professionals at MAGPS I saw that more senior therapist were getting lost and hoped to change this. With the help and support of some of the younger professional board members as well as senior members I was allowed to form a committee and pursue my idea. I was not to drain the already overtaxed Board, but could define my own structure with the approval and support of the existing board.
My vision involved possible workshops, experiential groups or more structured ones, that could be held in one’s office at a time designated by the leader. The leader would volunteer their idea, time and the offerings without requiring a fee. These groups would be open to organizational members free of charge with a minimal fee to nonmembers.
I began recruitment of former leaders from MAGPS. Past presidents, editors of the newsletter, program chairs etc were more than willing to serve as committee members. Their loyalty and love of MAGPS now had a new direction and they no longer felt peripheral to the organization.
Others who participated in the first group I offered whose purpose was considering retirement or reduction of work load felt connected and understood thereby being drawn back to the organiztion.
0ne of the member of that initial group, Carolyn Angelo, MSW formerly a credentialed member of APGA and a CGP is offering a group for those interested in beginning a group, which will start on September 7th and continue for 7 more weeks.
This June 6th two APGA trained group leaders Trish Cleary, MS, LCPC-MFT-ADC, CGP FAGPA and Joan P Medway, PHD, CGP, FAGPA co-led a full day experiential group experience for those interested in increasing their group skills. This day long training proved to be so successful they have scheduled another one for September 26th . Four members from the original have preregistered for this next event.
Let us find ways to harness this energy and talent by sustaining and increasing our enrollment by providing new ways to allow the well spring of learning to thrive. Project Outreach is one way to harness this energy. Share your talents by offering to lead a group or workshop in an interest of yours. Also why not register to participate in such events.