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WHAT I LEARNED AT THE PSYCHOTHERAPY NETWORKER SYMPOSIUM

Nicholas Wolff, LCSW, BCD, TEP
     The 2010 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium in March was a marathon of consciousness-raising led by Networker editor Rich Simon and his first-class panel of keynote speakers, who leveraged the not-so-good-news about the social, environmental and global problems we face with evidence-based recommendations about what we can do to turn things around. One thing was clear: complacency is not an option. Dan Goleman  -author of Emotional Intelligence, among other books, and whose writing for the Science section of the New York Times I long admired - talked about why the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a Texas-sized sort of island of plastic items out in the ocean – which the Wall Street Journal argues is maybe not really that big and even if it is that big, but what’s the big deal – should matter to psychotherapists. Because it is just one of many signs of world-class problems that we can all do something about if we expand our focus. Psychotherapy as a field is often disconnected from these issues in its focus on individuals’ private struggles. Dan Siegel – author of MINDSIGHT reassured me that group work will grow in relevance with his research about interpersonal neurobiology, but I left with a sense of urgency that I hope to channel into useful, creative innovations in my work that reach beyond the consulting room.

     What I learned at the symposium is (not only) this: Groups are essential to heal personal trauma and pain, but also have the power to damage, degrade and delude us. The skilled, mindful, and socially aware group psychotherapist can promote healing of personal trauma and loneliness, and also raise consciousness about the world around us. Good groups make us honest. Skilled group psychotherapists can contribute a great deal to the future we all create – for ourselves and for the generations coming up.

Nicholas Wolff, LCSW, BCD, TEP offers a weekly psychodrama/experiential methods training group from September - June. This training is an approved provider of re-credentialing Continuing Education by the New York State Office of Alcohol & Substance Abuse Services, National Association of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors, and National Board of Certified Counselors,and for credentialing hours approved by the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy. An individual meeting with the trainer is required for admission to this group - contact him to discuss this or for more information: 631-366-4265 or by email at lifestage_2000@yahoo.com with TRAINING GROUP in subject line.

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