Mitchell Hochberg Memorial Public Education Event: Andrew Solomon, PhD will discuss the film, "Far from the Tree."

Conference Opening Plenary Address: Jonathan David Haidt, PhD will kick-off the Conference in this opening address, "How Social Media is Changing Social Networks, Group Dynamics, Democracies, and Gen Z."

Annual Anne and Ramon Alonso Presidential Plenary Address: Molyn Leszcz, MD, FRCPC, CGP, DFAGPA will deliver his address, "All I Really Need to Know in Life, I Learned in Group."

Louis R. Ormont Lecture: Morris Nitsun, PhD will speak about, "Reflections on Art and Life through Dolls: The Power of Visual Images to Evoke Personal and Social Themes."

Social JusticeWednesday, March 4
6:30 – 7:45 P.M.
Mitchell Hochberg Memorial Public Education Event

Supported by contributions to the Group Foundation for Advancing Mental Health

Far from the Tree

Andrew SolomonFeatured Speaker: Andrew Solomon, PhD 

Far from the Tree is a documentary based on the highly acclaimed award-winning book by Andrew Solomon. Dr. Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, as well as families whose children are prodigies, transgender, conceived in rape, or are criminals. Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far from the Tree explores themes of generosity, acceptance, and tolerance—all rooted in the insight that love can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory work expands our definition of what it is to be human. It is inspirational to recognize the healing power of group affiliation in the lives of these individuals and families. Excerpts from the film will be shown, tying together Dr. Solomon’s own life and story with the experiences highlighted in the families he interviews. Following the showing, Dr. Solomon will be interviewed and respond to questions from the audience

Learning Objectives:
The attendee will be able to: 
1. Describe two ways that children who fall far from the tree are impacted in their families.
2. Identify two curative factors of group affiliation for these children.
3. State three values that are essential for diversity to be a unifying factor in groups and communities.


Andrew Solomon, PhD, is a writer and lecturer on psychology, politics, and the arts; winner of the National Book Award; and an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, and the arts. He is Professor of Clinical Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University Medical Center and a former President of PEN American Center.

A native New Yorker, Andrew Solomon attended the Horace Mann School, graduating cum laude in 1981. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Yale University in 1985, graduating magna cum laude, and later earned a Master’s degree in English at Jesus College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he received the top first-class degree in English in his year, the only foreign student ever to be so honored, as well as the University writing prize. Solomon was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Psychology by Jesus College, Cambridge. From 1993 to 2001, Solomon was a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine; he has also written for The New Yorker, Travel & Leisure, ArtForum, and many other periodicals.


Thursday, March 5
8:30 – 9:45 A.M.
Conference Opening Plenary Address

How Social Media is Changing Social Networks, Group Dynamics, Democracies, and Gen Z

Jonathan-Haidt_300px_optFeatured Speaker: Jonathan David Haidt, PhD

Social media has changed many parameters of social life, in ways that are damaging teen mental health. Heavy users of social media have twice the rate of depression and anxiety, and five published experiments indicate that the effect is at least partly causal: people who stop or reduce social media experience gains in mental health. This talk addresses what social media has done to Gen Z, the generation born beginning in 1996. Because social media changes networks, it has effects on most groups and organizations. The big challenge is to find ways to help groups and communities use social media in more healthy ways. 

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify how social media influences social and political life.
2. Articulate key background factors that have contributed to the mental health Gen Z crisis.
3. Describe mental health consequences for heavy users of social media.
4. List the specific ways that social media has affected Gen Z
5. Illustrate how social media may be used in healthy ways.

Dr. Jonathan Haidt (pronounced “height”) is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, and taught for 16 years in the department of psychology at the University of Virginia. Dr. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultures––including the cultures of  progressive, conservatives, and libertarians. His goal is to help people understand each other, live and work near each other, and even learn from each other despite their moral differences. Dr. Haidt has co-founded a variety of organizations and collaborations that apply moral and social psychology toward that end, including,, and Dr. Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom and of The New York Times bestsellers The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, and The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure (co-authored with Greg Lukianoff). In 2019 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was chosen by Prospect magazine as one of the world's "Top 50 Thinkers."  He has given four TED Talks.

Friday, March 6
8:30 – 9:45 A.M.
Anne and Ramon Alonso Presidential Plenary Address

Supported by contributions to the Group Foundation for Advancing Mental Health

All I Need to Know in Life, I Learned in Group

Molyn LeszczFeatured Speaker: Molyn Leszcz, MD, FRCPC, CGP, DFAGPA

This presentation will focus on the essential contributions our understanding of group therapy, group process and group principles make in every aspect of our professional lives. Beyond the powerful role of group therapy in the delivery of meaningful and effective mental health care, thinking like a group therapist can shape how we work organizationally in AGPA, and what we can bring to the healing of the fractures in our society. I believe our expertise and understanding has never been more needed in the world.

Dr. Molyn Leszcz is a Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto where he served as Vice Chair, Clinical (2010-2017) and as Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Sinai Health System (2006-2017). In addition to more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and chapters, he co-authored with Irvin Yalom, the Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy, 5th ed. (2005). The 6th edition will be published in 2020. A co-authored book, Achieving Psychotherapy Effectiveness was published in 2015. Dr. Leszcz was awarded the Alonso Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychodynamic Group Therapy and is a Distinguished Fellow of AGPA. Dr. Leszcz has been the recipient of a number of postgraduate education awards at the University of Toronto.

Saturday, March 7
9:00 – 11:30 A.M.
Louis R. Ormont Lecture

Reflections on Art and Life through Dolls: The Power of Visual Images to Evoke Personal and Social Themes

Morris NitsunFeatured Speaker: Morris Nitsun, PhD

This event reflects the coming together of the presenter’s two main professional interests, psychotherapy and art. Themes that emerged from group reflections on his doll painting exhibit included projections and perspectives on childhood. Implications for incorporating these reflections in group psychotherapy are discussed.

Dr. Morris Nitsun is a highly experienced practitioner with some fifty years of experience spanning the UK National Health Service, where he was director of a large psychology and psychotherapy department for almost thirty years, and private practice, where he was a founder member of the Fitzrovia Group Analytic Practice, the largest group-based practice in the UK. He has had extensive experience as a teacher, supervisor and consultant in the UK and countries abroad. He is regarded as an innovative and creative practitioner, recognized by a Royal College of Psychiatrists medal for services to mental health in 2015.

Learning Objectives:
The attendee will be able to:

1. Describe the coming together of the presenter’s two main professional journeys.
2. Assess the significance of dolls in children’s development.
3. Differentiate the range of responses to the doll paintings.
4.  Evaluate the influence of gender on relationship to dolls and responses in the exhibition.
5.  Propose ways in which visual images could be used to encourage exploration in a group.
6.  Suggest advantages to bridging two professional activities such as psychotherapy and art.
7. Assess the influence of social constructs on human development.

1. Hwang, C.P., Lamb, M.E., & Sigel, I.E. (eds) (1996). Images of Childhood. New York: CRC Press.
2. Jack, C., & Devereux, L. (2019). Memory objects and boarding school objects
www. 0819 - 8691htm
3. McNamara, T. (2019). Language and Subjectivity. Chapter 1. Cambridge: Cambridge Universities Press.
4. Nitsun, M. (2015). Beyond the Anti-group: Survival and Transformation. Chapter 8. London: Routledge.

More than one Google Analytics scripts are registered. Please verify your pages and templates.