Projective Identification Goes to the Movies:

Projective Identification in Group Psychotherapy

May 3-4, 2014

This presentation will examine the complicated and often misunderstood concept of projective identification through the use of movie and TV clips. Included are segments from Good Will Hunting, The Simpsons, Rebel without a Cause, Breakfast Club, 12 Angry Men, In Treatment, Sex and the City, and others. Objectives include sharpening the definition of projective identification, recognizing its presence in group psychotherapy, as well as individual and couples psychotherapy, and learning to intervene more effectively when it exists. Recognizing projective identification in the group psychotherapy process can help the therapist make sense of otherwise confusing interactions. Working therapeutically with projective identification, either by interpreting it or by washing the projection of its grime and then returning a cleaner version to the individual or group can be extremely beneficial in treatment. (Rated “R”)

Objectives of the Workshop:

  1. Define projective identification.

  2. Appreciate the different definitions of projective identification.

  3. Recognize projective identification in action in group therapy.

  4. Learn to intervene more successfully when projective identification is present.

  5. Recognize common countertransference reactions in the presence of projective identification.

  6. Increase knowledge about group dynamics and process by participating in the small groups and observing the behavior of group, the leader, and self.

  7. Apply concept of projective identification to the understanding and experience of the small group experience.

Methods of the Workshop

Various methods will be used to integrate the information and experiences of the workshop, and to personalize the material. These include lectures, clinical examples, film clips, and discussion. In addition, participants will become familiar with the concepts through their small group experiences.

About th​e Presenter:

Joseph Shay, PhD is in private practice in Cambridge, MA. He is on the staff of the joint McLean Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital training program, and is an Instructor in Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School. He is on the faculty of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy, the Psychoanalytic Couple and Family Institute of New England, and the MGH Center for Psychodynamic Therapy and Research. He has co-edited Odysseys in Psychotherapy as well as Complex Dilemmas in Group Therapy (with Lise Motherwell), now in its second edition. Dr. Shay has also co-authored the 4th and 5th editions of Psychodynamic Group Psychotherapy with Scott Rutan and Walter Stone. Dr. Shay has presented nationally and internationally on topics related to individual, couples, and group psychotherapy.

Small Group Leaders:

  • Robert Finch, MD
  • Russ Hopfenberg, PhD
  • Elizabeth Jackson, LCSW
  • Mardy Ireland, PhD

Workshop Coordinator:

Esther Robie

Workshop Timetable:

Saturday 8:30 – 5:00pm (Registration 8:30 – 9:00)
Sunday 8:30 – 5:00pm
(On both days, breakfast snack 8:30 – 9:00 and lunch 12:30 – 1:30)

Workshop Fees:

$230 CGPS Member ($200 before April 11)
$280 New and Renewing Members, Includes Membership ($250 before April 11)
$280 Non-Member
$100 Full-time student (Includes Membership)

The Early Bird discount rate applies to registrations received before April 11, 2014.

You will receive a full refund for cancellation by Friday, April 25, 2014. After this date there is no refund but you may send a substitute.


Scholarship aid is available based on financial hardship.
To apply for scholarship aid contact Esther Robie:

Continuing Education: 

CEUs: 12 hours.  Available for psychologists. All others will receive a Certificate of Attendance. The workshop is co-sponsored by the North Carolina Psychological Association and CGPS (Carolinas Group Psychotherapy Society). The North Carolina Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The North Carolina Psychological Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content. The workshop is offered for 12 hours of Continuing Education credit.

To receive credit, you must be present for the entire workshop, and you must sign the sign-in and sign-out sheets.  No credit will be given to participants who are more than 15 minutes late at the beginning of the morning and afternoon session.  No credit will be given to participants who leave before the close of the workshop.

REGISTER TODAY – Space Is Limited!

Carolinas Group Psychotherapy Society is an affiliate society of the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA). We seek to promote and enhance skills in group therapy and organizational group dynamics while supporting professionals working to improve the mental health and interpersonal skills of persons in the Carolinas.