Leading from Experience: Developing the Consultative Stance

 The Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems and the Austen Riggs Center are pleased to announce a weekend training workshop: The workshop is offered in partnership with The Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and endorsed by The A.K. Rice Institute

Where: The Austen Riggs Center

25 Main St. Stockbridge, MA 01262

November 9th-11th 2018   Start time:6:00 pm End time: 1:30 pm

Faculty: Donna Elmendorf, Dannie Kennedy, Jim Krantz,

Jerry Fromm (Convener)

Registration Fee for Consulting Participants: $500

Registration Fee for Non-Consulting Participants: $450

Continuing Education Credits are available for some disciplines at no additional cost.

Please contact the Workshop Administrator, Lori Schweickert at for more information and to the submit workshop form.

This Workshop is designed to strengthen participants’ ability to exercise leadership through drawing on the consultative stance, in whatever work roles they occupy.   Building on concepts and practices within the Group Relations tradition, the Workshop emphasizes the value of inner experience as an important guide to advancing work in any group or organizational context. Through the consultative stance, people may be able to connect what they are experiencing and observing with important issues affecting the group’s work.  They thus might provide a form of leadership by helping others into deeper, more sophisticated engagement with the task.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Group Relations tradition involves a framework for understanding group dynamics that (1) studies the group-as-a-whole, as if the group can be thought of as a living entity somewhat distinct from its individual participants, and 2) focuses on what seems to be happening in the immediacy of the moment, that is, the here-and-now emotional life of the group.  Consultants to this kind of self-study group focus on the group, rather than on individuals, and they take up only a consulting role, rather than a leadership role as that might be more usually defined.

The consultative stance – whether taken up formally in a consulting role or informally in a member role – involves being immersed in the dynamics of a group and paying attention to what we find ourselves feeling, thinking about and reacting to.  Seeing those experiences as a glimpse of what might be going on just outside of people’s awareness creates the opportunity to exercise leadership.  Speaking to that experience from one’s role and checking it against the experience of others can help the work of a group evolve, particularly as it leads to discovering previously unseen contexts and potentially challenging dynamics.

Because the consultative stance is relevant to leadership in a range of settings, the Workshop is not solely focused on developing participants’ capacity to work as consultants in Group Relations Conferences.  Nevertheless, a small self-study group is used to provide a grounding for participants to experience and deepen how they take up the consultative stance. Participants may take up formal consultative roles in the Small Study Group, followed by focused reflection with faculty, or they may participate simply as participants.  There will also be an opportunity for application, in which participants lead an examination of their back-home organizational dilemmas through the window of their experiences there and in the workshop.

Consulting roles in the Small Study Group are open to anyone who has had at least one Group Relations Conference experience or an equivalent group experience.  There are a limited number of consulting opportunities, and they are available on a first-to-sign-up basis.  Those who choose the consultant role will be assigned to co-consulting teams, which will then take turns consulting to the group process of fellow participants.  Non-consulting participants will have the opportunity to observe the reflections of the consultants after each session.  There is no prior Group Relations experience required for non-consulting participants.

Note: The registration fee includes dinner on Friday evening, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  Participants will be responsible for dinner on Saturday evening, in addition to making their own lodging arrangements.


A deposit of $50 is required to reserve a space once your application is accepted.  Full payment is due by November 1, 2018.

You can make payment in one of two ways:

  1. PayPal: Once your application has been accepted by the Workshop Administrator, you will be invoiced via PayPal.
  2. Paper check: Please send a check made out to CSGSS to: Lori Schweickert, 1901 N. Harrison Ave, Suite 100, Cary, NC 27513


To request a fee reduction, please submit the workshop application form to the Workshop Administrator, Lori Schweickert, including a $50 deposit along with a note indicating that you will be applying for aid. Then please send a letter via email to Lori at, stating the reasons for your request. Letters requesting fee reductions must be received by October 25, 2018.

Registrants from CSGSS, BPSI and Austen Riggs will receive a $100 discount.  Two or more participants from the same organization (other than these 3 organizations) will each receive a $50 discount.   


If an application is withdrawn on or before October 1, an administrative fee of $25 will be retained and the remainder of the tuition will be refunded.  No refund will be issued on after October 15, 2018. 

Travel Information:


  1. Albany International Airport, Albany, NY
  2. Bradley International Airport, Hartford, CT


  1. Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA – this is a historical inn situated right across from the Austen Riggs Center:, (413) 298-5545.
  2. Berkshire Visitors Bureau:

(Surrounding towns: Great Barrington, Lenox, Lee, Pittsfield)

  1. AirBnB has several excellent options in the area


Rainbow Taxi: (413) 443-7111  (If you are flying in, it might be more cost effective to rent a car.)

Uber and Lyft also service the area.


The Austen Riggs Center is accredited by the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  Physicians participating in this workshop will receive 15.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) ™.

The Austen Riggs Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Psychologists participating in this workshop will receive 15.0 CEU credits. The Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for the program and its content.

The Austen Riggs Center, #1344, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB),, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 02/02/2017-02/02/2020. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 15.0 continuing education clock hour(s).

For a listing of jurisdictions that accept ACE, please visit ace-jurisdiction-map/.

The Austen Riggs Center follows all state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). In accordance with the ADA, the Austen Riggs Center is committed to accessibility. If you need accommodations for your course, please contact

For additional information about this program, please call the Erikson Institute Education Coordinator, at 413.931.5230.

For additional Continuing Education details, please visit:

Workshop Application Form 

Email Form to





Please list Group Relations conferences or related experiences in which you have participated:

Would you prefer to be a ______ Consulting Participant or ______Non-Consulting Participant?

If you prefer a consulting position but they are already taken, do you want to register as a non-consulting member? _____ Yes ______    No

How would you prefer to pay the registration fee for this workshop?                  _____ Personal check _____ PayPal

Do you have any dietary restrictions? _____ Yes _____    No   If yes, please specify: 

Are you interested in being informed about others who might want to share a double-occupancy room?   ______Yes    _____   No 

If yes, please provide your contact information to be shared with interested others: 


Leadership, Authority and Identity: Exploring Desire and Fear in a Divided World

An Experiental Conference in the Tavistock Tradition

Sponsored by The Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems.

Connors Center Dover, MA

Wed Jan 16, 2019 – Sun Jan 20, 2019

Director: Candice Crawford-Zakian, Psy.D.

For more information and to register:

Save the Date

A weekend non-residential Group Relations conference in the Tavistock tradition

Sponsored by The Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems and chosting co-sponsor the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis.

1581 Beacon St., Brookline, MA

Friday April 26th, 2019 – Sun April28th, 2019

Director: Dannielle Kennedy

Contact for more information: Associate Director for Administration, Linda Gelda,





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