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PAGPS Holiday Event, 2016

On December 4th we hosted our annual Holiday Event for the 22nd time! April Fallon, Ph.D., CGP, has generously hosted the warm and festive gathering each of the 22 years. The evening began with our Annual Meeting during which, as outgoing President, I thanked board members for their countless hours of volunteer time and effort dedicated toward helping PAGPS enhance connections amongst group therapists and awareness of group therapy in our area. We recognized April Fallon’s decades of work in group therapy and on the PAGPS board by awarding her the status of Board Member Emeritus. I then passed the torch, or rather the tiara (a newer PAGPS tradition) on to our new President, Dan Kulper, Ph.D. First among a number of exciting opportunities and resources PAGPS has been and will be working on in the coming years, the new logo was unveiled. It symbolizes our ties to group therapy, diversity, and the Philadelphia area.

Jim Bleiberg, Psy.D., CGP continued the program with a thought-provoking presentation entitled Group Therapy for Emerging Adults: Working through Ambivalence to Find the Golden Mean. He postulated that emerging adults (18 to 25 or 29 years old) experience a particular nuance of ambivalence that is impacted by their stage of development. The instability characteristic of the lives of young adults (e.g., lack of long-term job, relationship, residence) is both exciting and aversive to them. These feelings play out in the microcosm of the group, in which they may feel both commitment to the stability of the group contract as well as pulled toward other, maybe equally desirable goals (e.g., working toward going on a service trip). Jim spoke of the importance of the executive function and emotional stimulation roles (relative to the caring and meaning attribution roles) of the group leader for this population. Working off a clinical example, attendees pondered ways in which group leaders can help emerging adults struggle through ambivalence and whether they truly experience ambivalence and need for particular leader functions differently than established adults. Lively and thoughtful discussion was followed by time to mingle, network, and enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres.

Annie Yocum, Psy.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Doylestown, PA.


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