Connie Concannon, LCSW, CGP, DFAGPA
Over the last eight years as the Editor of Group Assets, I have shared the stories of the supporters and the work of the Foundation. I have felt inspired, moved, and grateful for the generous spirit of those who have contributed and supported our work.
As I retire from the editorship and hand it over to the very capable hands of Karen Travis, LCSW, BCD, CGP, FAGPA, she has asked me to share my story of commitment to the Foundation.
My story has a generational theme. My father Joseph Concannon was an active member of AGPA and part of the post-World War II generation of mental health professionals that were challenged with the care of returning veterans suffering with PTSS. The sheer number of vets to be served necessitated the need to see them in groups. This was fertile ground to develop group theory and research and understanding the power and the efficacy of group psychotherapy. My father was captured by what he experienced in the groups, and he passed this enthusiasm on to me. The emphasis on the importance of group went beyond clinical practice into every other aspect of life. We grow up in our family group; we live in community groups; we are educated in groups; and many of us work in groups. Learning this at a young age guided me in the way that I understood life, others, and myself.
When I began my professional career, I had the benefit of knowing where I could get training and support in preparing me for my life’s work. That place was AGPA. It has been my professional home and continues to be a place where I am both challenged and supported in my personal and professional growth and where I have made life-long friends. Along the way, I also learned about professional organizations and what makes them thrive, grow, and be resilient in an ever-changing world.
To be sustainable, successful organizations like the Group Foundation need a secure financial base to support the goals of the group and to be prepared to navigate the often-unforeseen challenges that we have to face. What we are experiencing now is one of those challenging times. The Group Foundation allows us to see our way through a bad storm until we can reach safe waters.
It’s hard to believe what we have all gone through since we met together last year at AGPA Connect in New York City. What we came back to after that meeting rocked our world personally and professionally. It’s changed the way we do our work, the way we live, and the way we see each other. The issue of personal safety is magnified at multiple levels for our clients and ourselves. Just as my Dad’s generation learned so much about group therapy when facing the shared trauma of a war, this past year is our shared trauma, and together we will learn from it.
I continue to contribute to the Foundation because I value the safe harbor that it provides for our beloved organization and the door that it opens for the next generation of group therapists.
I will miss my work as the Editor of Group Assets and the privilege of working with Diane Feirman, CAE, Public Affairs Senior Director, during these years. Most of all, I will miss seeing all of my friends and colleagues up close and personal at AGPA Connect 2021.