How People Create One Another in Groups

  • 21 May 2011
  • 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
  • PCOM - Evans Hall, Room 327 A&B, 4190 City Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19131


How People Create One Another in Groups

Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D.

The Philadelphia Area Group Psychotherapy Society (PAGPS) and The Philadelphia Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology (PSPP) are co-sponsoring a program entitled “How People Create One Another in Groups.”  This program will take place on May 21st, 2011, at Evans Hall located in the Philadelphia College for Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), Room 327 A&B at 4190 City Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19131.


People’s sense of reality is constructed in connection with those who make up their social world. There is not an "out there" world to be perceived accurately or inaccurately. Instead, we unconsciously create the reality in which we live. Thus, when we have in mind certain "characters" that we need in our world, we find or fabricate people who seem to embody these characteristics, and they do the same with us. Together we shape a script or play that we live in together.

Processes of illusion (transitional object usage) and creating the other (projective identification) are ubiquitous in groups undefined and in life. People are often confused by how others see them, often frustrated by how others treat them, seldom aware of their own role in creating the others who live on their own private stage or the roles they enact for others in their interior dramas.

In this experiential and didactic seminar, we will examine how this happensundefinedhow we are each creating one another. This program is appropriate for mental health professionals and graduate students at all levels.


After attending this program in full, participants will be able to:

1.  Identify processes of the creation of the other.

2.  Distinguish between projection (illusion) and projective identification (creation of the other).

3.  Recognize the therapist’s role in colluding with or interpreting group members’ valences.


Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at The Fielding Graduate University and has previously been a professor at Harvard University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

She is the author of many articles and books, including The Space Between Us: Exploring the Dimensions of Human Relationships and Playing Pygmalion: How People Create One Another.

She has been active in the A.K. Rice Institute for 25 years and has directed and consulted on many group relations conferences.

A practicing psychotherapist, she is co-director of the Yalom Institute of Psychotherapy, which offers group therapy training internationally, and on the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Group Psychotherapy. She has been the recipient of the Henry A. Murray and the Theodore R. Sarbin awards from the American Psychological Association. For additional background, see her website,


8:30–9:00 a.m.undefinedRegistration. A continental breakfast will be provided. 

9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.undefinedProgram. Please note that we will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m.


PAGPS and PSPP members: $50 

Non-members: $60 

Graduate students/interns: $10


Space for this program is limited. Please send in your registration form promptly. Registration forms may be obtained by visiting the PAGPS website at Click on "Upcoming Events" and then on "How People Create One Another in Groups" to obtain this form. After May 13, we suggest calling or e-mailing Elsa Efran, MS at 215-242-4234 or to make sure space is available. Cancellations received at least five working days before the event are refundable, minus a $10 processing fee.

Please note you cannot register for this event through the PSPP website.


This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 3 continuing education credits. The Philadelphia Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology (PSPP) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. PSPP maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

PSPP is also approved by the PA State Board of Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists & Professional Counselors to offer continuing education for social workers, marriage & family therapists, and professional counselors. This program carries 3 CE credits.

Attendees will also receive 3 recertification credits, useful for individuals listed in the National Registry of Certified Group Psychotherapists.

PAGPS and PSPP are committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in their continuing education activities and will conduct their activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns, and any complaints to Elsa Efran, PAGPS Administrator (215-242-4234,

There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE sponsor, presenting organizations, presenter, program content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest.


  • From I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway), take exit for City Avenue 
  • Take City Avenue South two blocks to Monument Road 
  • Make a left onto Monument Road. PCOM's entrance is on right. Follow signs to parking garage (flat fee $5)

For more detailed directions, go to the PCOM website: (

A map of the campus is here:


The Philadelphia Area Group Psychotherapy Society is an Affiliate Society of the American Group Psychotherapy Society (AGPA).

Membership in PAGPS is open to AGPA members as well as mental health workers, students, or trainees who are actively engaged in group work but who are not members of AGPA.

PAGPS members may list their group(s) on the PAGPS website.

For a membership application, contact 

Elsa R. Efran, M.S., Administrator 

310 E. Gowen Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19119-1022

Phone: 215-242-4234 



The Philadelphia Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology is the local chapter of Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) of the American Psychological Association.

Information about membership can be found on the PSPP website,

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