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Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society

The Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society (MAGPS) is a regional affiliate of the American Group Psychotherapy Association that serves group therapists in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

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MAGPS is an organization committed to the study and practice of group psychotherapy and is affiliated with the American Group Psychotherapy Association. We, like many within the helping traditions, have been following the worsening climate for racial and ethnic minorities, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, non-Christian religions, immigrants, refugees and other marginalized groups in our country. We have been saddened and alarmed by the rising verbal and physical assaults on people and places that represent the fabric of our communities and country and yet have been deemed as “other” with a tone of hatred and intolerance.  We are aware that there has always been an undercurrent of “othering,” as often seen in our groups and throughout history, but we have seldom seen it so publicly reinforced as we have since the 2016 presidential election cycle began.

As group therapists, we at MAGPS are all too familiar with the process of “scapegoating,” whereby a member of the group becomes marginalized and then an attempt is made to ostracize or expel that member. This process is always an effort to expel those aspects of ourselves that we are afraid to confront and understand, but in no way does this behavior serve the broader goals of any group and instead undermines the group itself.

Like many organizations that serve to foster inclusiveness and the study of both small and large group dynamics, we must speak openly against the bigotry and racial violence that has been occurring unchecked. We publicly condemn any words or action that serve only to segregate and silence people based on the color of their skin, their religious views, their ethnicity, their sexual orientation or their gender identification. As a community of psychotherapists, we are dedicated to ameliorating the trauma of being marginalized and ostracized and we are fully prepared to speak out against what we see as an emerging culture of intolerance and threat to our most vulnerable friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members. MAGPS is itself a group of diverse professionals and we are dedicated to the protection of civil rights for all people. We would like to offer to all people, a place of understanding and compassion, where inclusion, freedom of speech, diversity of thought, and the courage to be are always welcome.

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