Stewart Aledort, MD, CGP, FAGPA
I have been a member of the AGPA Faculty for many years, and the one thing that has always impressed me was the students’ zeal. We on the Faculty have grown older and, hopefully wiser. Our inheritance to you is our Scholarship Programs, which allow new students to challenge us and to learn. I was taught in medical school, “See one, learn one, and then teach one.”
There are so many moments in my experiences at AGPA where the newer members would ask me questions. This has made me rethink my theoretical models. We would develop, over time, a wonderful, complementary melding of ideas, enthusiasm, and energy to propel both of us forward to examine old truths and develop new ones.
The students are the lifeblood of this organization. Their attendance has to be increased. The best way I know to do this is through our contributions to the Group Foundation for Advancing Mental Health. Contributions will allow students and newer professionals, who may have very little exposure and support in their communities, to learn to run groups, as well as how to understand how groups run. We serve as their mentors and supporters. It’s a truly powerful and satisfying feeling to lend ourselves to these students. Their rapport with the membership allows them to strive further. It increases their motivation to become active members in our organization.
Giving reflects our deeply held love and respect for AGPA. I owe my career and writings to all the Institutes and panels I was involved in, all the challenges I faced, all the heckling I received, and all the colleagues who supported me. These experiences changed who I was as a therapist. It was rewarding to run groups and see the holding, trust, and eventual unfolding of my patients’ histories. For the new members, who our giving will bring to AGPA Connect this year, and many who will surely follow, that same progression will unfold.
It is the ultimate reward for giving to the Foundation and becoming involved in AGPA. It is one of the few places where our money can help others, as well as ourselves.Many of us, who are stuck in our ivory towers or the solitude of our offices and practices, may take for granted the increasing number of new members each year at AGPA Connect and other programs. That is not by accident. That has to do with the work of the Foundation. For people like me, who open our checkbooks or credit card and give to the Foundation, contributing helps us stay young and satisfied in our chosen profession. And for the newbies to our profession, it helps them develop models, friendships, and closeness that will sustain them throughout their careers.