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Introducing the SAGE Task Force

Ellen L. Ziskind, LICSW, CGP Suzanne L. Cohen, Ed.D, CGP

Back in the winter of 2018, Suzanne Cohen and I were having dinner together. I told her I’d like to be more connected to NSGP without necessarily being on a committee. My thoughts were on a small scale. I had loved teaching and supervising in the Training Program and thought perhaps I could offer a pro-bono consultation group to people in the early or middle stages of development as group therapists.

Suzanne’s thoughts were on a larger, more comprehensive scale. She suggested that we might also consider being of service to the entire organization – specifically the Board, the Foundation, or any committee that wanted some ad hoc or ongoing consultation. The idea of mentoring also came into the picture. It began to be clear that we were talking about more than ourselves. There must be other NSGP members who had served the organization in governance, teaching, supervision, and as advisors to students, who were feeling similarly.

At the NSGP Conference later that year, Suzanne suggested we tell Ann Koplow, then President of NSGP, and Jennifer DeSouza, Secretary and now President, about our idea and stood together in a hallway discussing it. They were both immediately enthusiastic and supportive. We agreed to meet for dinner in the early fall to discuss it more thoroughly then. We did, and, thus, the SAGE Task Force was born. (We’re not certain that this is our final name, but that’s who we are for now.) We sent an email to every member who had been involved in the kinds of NSGP activities mentioned above -- training, governance, and teaching -- announcing our existence and extending an invitation to an initial meeting in November 2019.

We have had four meetings, two in person and two via Zoom. While some people came to all four, the group varied each time. At the second meeting, we went around the room as each person described how they had first connected with NSGP. There seemed to be some people interested in the task-oriented aspects of the SAGE Task Force and others who seemed more interested in being together as a group. We planned to follow-up on this observation and get more clarity about people’s preferences at the next meeting. Then the virus struck and, at our first Zoom meeting, the environment was no longer conducive to that kind of discussion. We are still very much in the process of finding out who we are and how we’ll function.

Meanwhile, one person called us wanting a mentor and he got happily matched. Suzanne Cohen, as a SAGE representative, has been filling in for someone who left the Board. She is rotating off, and Geri Reinhardt, also an active SAGE member, has agreed to fill in for the next six months. We are gradually finding useful ways of fulfilling our mission. The Board members have been eager to have us there. We have felt interest and support from other parts of the organization, which we’ll write about as things develop. Suzanne will be outlining our known and planned functions on the new NSGP Website. We will keep you updated to allow NSGP members to stay informed about what we’re offering. Please contact us if you would like to inquire about a mentor, or if you would like to learn more. Feel free to email Suzanne Cohen at suzannecohen88@gmail.com and Ellen Ziskind at magellen6318@gmail.com.

Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy
P.O.Box 356 | Belmont, MA 02478

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