by Margo London
Our Spring 2010 conference, The Favorite Patient: The Group Therapist’s Dilemma, was a lively, intense, often highly personal, and successful two-day event, held at the Johns Hopkins University campus in Shady Grove, MD.
Guest presenter Ellen Weber Libby, Ph.D., CGP, led the three plenary sessions, presenting two dimensions of the concept of favoritism. The first explored the dynamics of favoritism in families and Libby’s notion that at each person’s core are feelings related to being chosen, not chosen, or overlooked. The second explored how these influence our work as group therapists.
The 85 participants also met in ten small groups for three sessions of process experiences over the two days, with each group having a mix of seasoned clinicians, newer group therapists, and graduate students. MAGPS hosted a reception for first-time attendees after the Saturday session and also matched them with Mentors to facilitate their joining into the conference.
Our visiting small group leader was David Hawkins, MD, from the Carolinas Group Psychotherapy Society, and leaders from MAGPS were Gloria Myers Beller, Sarah Brandel, Jay Casey, Joshua Cordonnier, Larney Gump, Nancy Hafkin, Sarah Hedlund, Hallie Lovett, Ray Lovett, Grace Riddell, and Jonathan Stillerman. The conference faculty and Elly Libby met as a consultation group periodically throughout the conference.
Our conference gathering exuded energy and excitement, in sessions and during breaks, as people met, talked, laughed, explored, and discussed the dynamics of favoritism — both professionally and personally.