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Carolinas Group Psychotherapy Society

Life Is Lived in Groups!

Public Statement on War and Terrorism

by the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA)

Carolinas Group Psychotherapy Society is an affiliate of AGPA

October 24, 2023

In response to the terrorist attacks and atrocities committed by Hamas in Israel that have significantly harmed both Israeli and Palestinian colleagues, their loved ones and communities, as well as the way in which these events have engendered increased racism, religious discrimination, and hate crimes in the United States, the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) wishes to make the following public statement.

AGPA is a professional organization of psychotherapists from diverse backgrounds, orientations, communities, and nations who share common values about the power of group therapy in promoting understanding, overcoming divisions, and engaging in transformative dialogue across differences.  We believe that communities thrive from the bonds that form between humans, and that individual vulnerability can be buffered and mitigated by collective resilience.  As such, it is part of our ethical mandate to actively respond to systemic oppression and discrimination, and to confront injustices that lead to significant threats to life, safety, and autonomy.

The unspeakable acts committed in the Middle East are a living example of the devastation wrought by hatred, armed conflict, and mass violence. As witnessing professionals, we offer solidarity to our Palestinian and Israeli colleagues, their family members who have been called into military service, and the innocent civilians who are bearing the weight of war, lack of access to humanitarian aid, and loss of dignity. Your suffering does not go unrecognized.

This war has reverberated in the United States through Anti-Semitic, Anti-Israeli, Anti-Palestinian, and Anti-Muslim backlash and violence that have promoted fear and existential dread.  We strongly denounce such divisive words and actions, which for many have re-vivified past traumas of the Holocaust and 9/11.  The damage is magnified by societal and governmental divisions in the form of tribalism, partisan politics, and misinformation—large-group phenomena that contribute to a continuous cycle of violence.

As a U.S.-based organization whose membership is international, we bear witness to this war as well as the numerous armed conflicts and atrocities occurring within multiple regions of the world (including Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America), some of which receive wide media coverage and others that do not.  Research clearly shows that the psychological toll of mass trauma events and loss is felt both immediately and in the long-term, with mental health consequences for people directly affected in addition to those with familial, cultural, and religious connections to impacted communities.  Likewise, clinicians providing support are at risk of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue.

As group therapists, we hold the knowledge that there is no end to violence through violence, no resolution to trauma in detachment and alienation.  We encourage our members to draw upon their clinical skills to provide communal spaces of shared empathy, compassion, and inter-group dialogue to transform hatred and division with cultural humility, curiosity, experiences of shared humanity and equanimity, and the possibility for grieving.  As an organization, we remain committed to working to establish and maintain a professional community that embraces our differing perspectives and social locations as sources of collective strength and generative growth.

This statement was developed by the AGPA Community Outreach Task Force chairs Craig Haen and Suzanne Phillips with Task Force member Leo Leiderman, in collaboration with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force chairs Latoyia K. Griffin and Vincent Malik Dehili with Task Force member Wendy Freedman.

Community Outreach Task Force Co-Chairs

Craig Haen, Ph.D., RDT, LCAT, CGP, AGPA-F

 Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP, CGP, AGPA-DF

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force Co-Chairs

Latoyia K. Griffin, LCSW, CGP, AGPA-F

Vincent Malik Dehili, Ph.D., ABPP, CGP

Upcoming Events


and Stay Tuned!

An Article by One of Our Board Members!

Read the article by our DEI Workshop presenter and board member, Vinny Dehili:

Cultural awareness— color blind

Raising awareness and honoring the sociocultural transference threads throughout group therapy.

By Vinny Malik Dehili, PhD, CGP

Date created: November 8, 2021; 11 min read

Board of Directors

A Message from the Past President

Groups, of course, are all over the place. Our families constitute a group, and our friends, coworkers and classmates as well. Even the folks with whom we share the checkout line or the highway are a group of sorts, however temporary and changeable. For almost all of us, life happens in, and because of, groups.

A CGPS weekend workshop gave me my first experience of the therapeutic power of group. Ever since, the more I’ve explored various types of intentional groups, the better I’ve come to understand my interactions in all areas of my life, past and present, in ways that have led to positive and lasting change.

I’m grateful to CGPS for introducing me to group as a path towards healing, and for supporting us all as we negotiate the interactions that make up our professional and personal lives. And I’m glad to have the opportunity, as President, to help CGPS in its mission to promote group as a professional modality, to inform our community about group’s potential, and to support the practitioners who are making it available.

If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll join us!


Peter Millis, LCSW

Past President, CGPS

Asheville, NC

Completed Event:

Recording Available for Members!

Presented by

Tony L. Sheppard, Psy.D., CGP, FAGPA

Recorded July 22 at 12:00 to 1:30 PM

Click here for event information

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CGPS Interviews

Interested in what CGPS has to offer?
Want to learn more?

Watch our video of Tom Thorsheim interviewing

our past president, Susan Orovitz,

and our Program Organizer, Derek Easley

April 3rd, 2018

Interview with Richard Schwartz,

Presenter for our 2016 Fall Workshop


"Internal Family Systems in Group Psychotherapy:

Your Parts, My Parts and the Self"

April, 2016

Here's our past Events

 Past Brief Events


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Past Workshop Intensives

What Others Are Saying

“I have found it to be rare for people in professional spaces to get into these types of conversations about group, personal, and professional growth. This is the only conference where you are invited to bring your whole self to the group process. The ability to engage and talk about what you’re learning in the moment – what is coming up for you and how it relates to others…it’s fantastic.”

- Agustina Vidal | Student and Returning workshop Attendee

“What I love about CGPS is the sense of belonging to a community and the relationships that result.  i met by best friend, Caroline, through CPGS, and she and I attended together for years.  She has since passed away.  I expressed some grief around Caroline’s passing during small group, and the group leader’s response was a moment of grace for me.  The facilitator had an ability to hone in on the g group or individual interpretation in a really powerful way.  The workshop is a training environment but you can’t not bring yourself to the process  And so there’s this opportunity to stretch and grow.”

- Jae Brainard • LCSW Multi-Year workshop attendee

“You get to learn on two levels. You have the more intellectual level in the academic, structured discussions. The speakers and training have been really good both times I have attended. And then you also participate in the unstructured process groups and experience the way those kinds of process groups work, which is really rich. I saw all the group dynamics going on in myself and in other people in the group. I had a group facilitator who made the small groups reflect the larger discussions, and that grew in me more of a gut level, internal awareness of group work. The people are incredibly warm and inviting, which really embodies the focus on group work. Inviting people into community is an important skill of facilitating group process, and it really shows at CGPS in the way people I have met have treated me.”

- John Craichy • LCSW - A two-time workshop attendee

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