2015 Sunday’s Workshop Schedule

Course Descriptions

Schedule – Table View

Come As You Are: Harm Reduction Groups

Jeannie Little, LCSW, CGP


Harm Reduction groups offer a radical alternative to standard addiction treatment.  Beginning in 1990, Harm Reduction emerged in the U.S. as a set of public health strategies to reduce the spread of HIV. It grew alongside a human rights movement to decriminalize drug use and end the War on Drugs. Harm Reduction Therapy developed as an integrative clinical treatment model informed by principles of harm reduction.  It combines psychotherapy with substance use treatment to address both substance use and the issues that lie behind it. Harm Reduction Therapy is a humane and pragmatic approach to working with anyone who uses or misuses alcohol and other drugs. Harm reduction groups are known for their flexibility and diversity – they are extremely low threshold and welcome anyone who uses or misuses alcohol and other drugs, regardless of the status of their use or their goals for future use.  This workshop will focus on the ways that group structure, group and individual level interventions, and countertransference management create the conditions for movement in the direction of health.

Learning Objectives:

The attendee will be able to:

  1. Explain the harm reduction perspective on co-occurring disorders
  2. Adjust the threshold for entry and group rules to accommodate active substance users with co-occurring disorders
  3. Name two leader strategies that help dually diagnosed members to change
  4. Manage their countertransference responses to substance misuse.

Mission Impossible? Leading Therapeutically Effective, Involuntary Groups

Teri Dillion, MA, LPC, LAC, CGP

9:00-10:30 am

Court-mandated or otherwise involuntary groups pose a special challenge to the group leader. Members often come to groups unwillingly, resent the terms of the task at hand, and feel wary about opening up with other involuntary clients, let alone the leader who holds a form of authority. In this workshop, we will explore methods for setting up a contract for a mandated group and interventions designed to lower defenses and promote progressive emotional communications between members. Warning: Attendees may be asked to involuntarily participate!

Learning Objectives:

1. Identify the useful leverage mandated group leaders have at their disposal to create working groups
2. Explore options for creating an effective and clear group contract
3. Learn interventions for dealing with resistance and/or hostility
4. Identify a “spirit” or stance leaders can take to lower defenses of members

Learning Modalities: Experiential (demo group), didactic

Straddling The Gap: Sex, Intimacy, and Desire in The Present Moment


Jenna Noah, MA, LPCC, Phd (pending) and Carole Clements, MA

This group will focus on desire as it arises in the present moment, aiming to straddle the gap between craving and satisfaction in order to respond rather than react. A theoretical orientation will be followed by an experiential fishbowl. Participants will be encouraged to rely on their own experiences of desire.

Modern Psychoanalytic Techniques in Group Treatment

Elizabeth Olson, PsyD, LCSW


In this workshop, you will become familiar with a variety of modern psychoanalytic techniques that can be used to fuel the here and now experience. We will discuss the importance of transferential interactions with the group leader as well as group members. Emotional inductions will be explored as a basis for understanding how group members create problematic relational repetitions in their lives. These inductions become the source of interventions that can create lasting, meaningful character change in our clients. We will discuss the importance of limbic based interactions in the form of progressive, emotional communications. Specific strategies to work effectively with group and individual resistances will be explored. Group role playing and group case studies will be used to illustrate and experience these powerful techniques.


 Large Group Process


Jeff Price, MA, LPC, LAC, CGP

The large group reflects not only what is occurring in the here-and-now, but also reflects on a transferential level what is occurring in a context: the organization, conference, city, country, political climate, etc.  It is generally defined as the study of its own behavior in the here-and-now.

The participant in the large group can engage in the struggle to learn how to be a good “citizen” in the group/society.  As a citizen, one learns how to influence others and also how important we all may be.  There is then the opportunity to develop connections and feelings of belonging to a society and not to a specific subgroup – important in the development of citizenship.

The large group provides members with the opportunities to explore and learn about the difficulties we all have, as subjects, in recognizing other subjects as “equivalent centers of experience” and enabling a move towards enhancing capacities for mutual recognition in the group.

Although it cannot function as psychotherapy, the large group can serve as an important tool in understanding social interactive processes and interrelationships within society.

Jeff Price has been a regular attendee/group member of the 3-day Large Group workshop at the AGPA conference every year since 1998.


  1. Appraise the role of regression in large groups.
  2. Question their own and others’ attitude to group leadership.
  3.  Identify stages of large group development, from chaos/disintegration via dialogue to reflection.


Smart Business Skills for Group Psychotherapists

Establishing Groups in Private Practice


Mike Harris, LPC, LAC, CGP

This workshop takes us beyond training as a group therapist and focuses on decisions we need to make so building groups into our practices is manageable, rewarding, and congruent with our larger business goals. The objective of the workshop is to harness what we have learned from our experience thus far in the symposium to better position our practices.

More details to follow