Spring Conference Preview

By Margo London, Conference Chair

MAGPS is very pleased that Stewart Aledort, MD, CGP, FAGPA, will be the guest presenter for our Spring 2011 conference, “Shame and Excitement: Crucial Markers for Group Psychotherapy.”    We’ll be meeting at the historic Saint Elizabeths Hospital, in the New Building, in Washington, D.C., on Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1.

Stewart Aledort is a highly regarded group psychotherapist, and a lively and engaging presenter.   He has been developing and refining his unique approach to group therapy over the past twenty years.  As he told Myrna Frank in his pre-conference interview, he begins with “the importance of the earliest periods of life, the preverbal experiences that have a profound influence on the laying down of neuronal structures in the brain and in forming templates of intimacy and identity.”   He defines “two basic, parallel, and at times interconnecting neuronal tracks — the passionate good fit (PGF) and the passionate bad fit (PBF),” and it is their manifestations in the therapy group that guide his work.  “What I look for in my patients is the passion, the excitement, and the shame of these unconscious re-enactments in the group.”  These crucial emotional markers highlight what must be worked through in the psychotherapy group for character change and full development to occur.  (See Myrna Frank’s interview with Dr. Aledort at blog.magps.org.)

Our conference structure will include our traditional large and small group formats for the weekend, with plenary sessions and demonstration groups.   Among our small group leaders for this conference are Amy Bush, Elliot Blum, Barbara Cristy, Myrna Frank, Ron Hopson, Eleanor Hoskins, Ron Kimball, Joan Medway, Henry Morris,
Ann Reifman, and Steven Van Wagoner.  Our visiting small group leader is Justin Hecht, from the Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society.  He is a long time colleague of Stewart Aledort’s. Professional biographies of all small group leaders are available on the website, magps.org or can be downloaded directly here.

We are excited to be meeting at Saints Elizabeths Hospital, which has a long and rich history of providing training in group therapy over the decades for a variety of clinicians.  Among our small group leaders are several who worked at Saint Elizabeths for many years and a number of MAGPS members have trained in group therapy at the hospital.  (See Lenore Pomerance’s interviews with Farooq Mohyuddin, MAGPS president-elect, and Reggie Nettles, MAGPS president, about Saint Elizabeths Hospital at blog.magps.org.)

Our conference hotel is the Courtyard Marriott, Capitol Hill/Navy Yard, 140 L Street, SE.  Information about room reservations is available on our website, www.magps.org.

About getting to Saint Elizabeths: The address is 1100 Alabama Avenue, SE.  The hospital is on the Metro Green Line, at the Congress Heights station.  The hotel is 1/2 block from the Metro Green line, Navy Yard Station, and two stops from Saint Elizabeths.  Car parking is available at no cost on the hospital grounds.  NOTE that photo identification must be shown to enter the hospital grounds and also to enter the New Building, the conference site.

The MAGPS community is looking forward to this weekend.   We think this will be a stimulating and enriching conference, and we hope you will join us!