The Louisiana Group Psychotherapy Society (LGPS) is a non-profit affiliate of the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA). LGPS was founded in the 1950’s to promote the use of group psychotherapy as a treatment modality across clinical disciplines. Our members include psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatrists, counselors, students and other mental health professionals who share an interest in group work. LGPS provides continuing education and support to its members and the community at large; it serves as the primary clearinghouse for information regarding group therapy throughout the state.
In the volatile atmosphere of managed care, where quality is often overlooked in favor of quantity and “efficiency,” we believe now more than ever that the unique dynamic of group psychotherapy offers a cost-effective kind of continuity and connection which is essential to the therapeutic experience. Many managed care companies are requiring that group therapists be certified by the International Board for the Certification of Group Psychotherapists. LGPS has been active in providing workshops to meet core course requirements for this certification. To this end, we have also promoted the development of study groups in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Lafayette areas and are eager to be of use in establishing such groups in other parts of the state. Because Arkansas and Mississippi do not have their own chapter affiliates of AGPA, we have also drawn clinicians from these areas to our educational offerings and to our work with the national office.
LGPS was founded in 1955 under the leadership of Irwin M. Marcus, M.D. It was the sixth group to receive recognition as an affiliate of the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) and remains an affiliate to this day.
In 1956, LGPS initiated a series of annual meetings to introduce group psychotherapy to a wider range of professionals. The first annual meeting, held at the Tulane University School of Medicine, was attended by over 150 professionals from a wide variety of disciplines. These meeting have continued to grow over the years, developing into two-day institutes held in the spring or fall. These institutes have been led by noted group psychotherapists such as S. R. Slavson (founder of AGPA), Carl Whitaker, Anne Alonso, Irvin Polster, Robert and Mary Goulding, John OHearne, John Gladfelter, and Molyn Leszcz. This annual institute has been the hallmark of LGPS for over 50 years. The institute allows participants to develop new clinical approaches, refine therapeutic methods, exchange clinical and empirical knowledge with colleagues, gain knowledge of current research and theory, participate in a multidisciplinary peer support network, and learn through an experiential process.
In recent years, LGPS has utilized the expertise of our national affiliation to aid professionals in our state coping with and serving those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. With our parent organization based in New York, many of our national leaders gained vast experience in disaster response after the events surrounding 9/11. Group therapy and support became a critical forum to serve the numerous affected individuals. This proved especially effective in non-traditional clients such as fire fighters, clergy and other health care professionals. Drawing on this opportunity, LGPS was able to offer a workshop entitled Compassion Fatigue: Helping the Helpers on October 8, 2005. Having these resources made it possible to, within weeks after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, provide support to the many professionals who were already overwhelmed. We provided this educational and supportive opportunity on a pay as you can basis so financial resources were not a hindrance to attend. Over 40 professionals attended and were able to receive support as well as specific training on serving clients affected by disaster trauma.
In 2006, LGPS partnered with several other community organizations and professionals in the Baton Rouge area to provide a series of hurricane anniversary wellness workshops to assist in the training of case managers serving Katrina evacuees and to support evacuees themselves. LGPS provided funding and facilitators for the training.