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SEPI Advisory Board Members
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Marvin R. Goldfried, Ph.D.
Past President

Distinguished Professor 
Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University

Past-President, Psychotherapy Division
Past-President, Society of Clinical Psychology (APA Div 12)
Past President of the Society for Psychotherapy Research
http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/psychology/index.php?people/faculty/marvin_goldfried

Dr. Goldfried vividly recalls originally working on a manuscript in the late 1970s—which eventually appeared in a 1980 issue of the American Psychologist--calling for the need for common therapeutic principles of change. At the time, He was on sabbatical in the San Francisco Bay area, sitting in what was a makeshift study in the basement of the house he had rented. As he wrote, he experienced some unusual emotional reactions--a feeling of great excitement, but also considerable trepidation. Although he felt it important to say what he wanted to say, he nonetheless anticipated that some colleagues might react quite negatively to his thesis. He was not wrong. Although there continue to be colleagues who react negatively to the idea that we need to work toward some rapprochement in the field, there have been a growing number who have come to see the potential benefit of doing so.

The Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI) got its early start when Hans Strupp (a ‘psychodynamicist’) and Marvin Goldfried (a cognitive-behaviorist) compiled a list of professionals whom they knew to be interested in rapprochement across the orientations. When Goldfried moved to New York City, he began to meet with Paul Wachtel (another ‘psychodynamicist) to discuss the topic of integration, and what could be done to further this latent issue. They had many exciting lunch meetings for a year or two, and realized that serious steps needed to be taken to do something about psychotherapy integration when they started to meet for dinner! In 1982, the informal list of names had increased to 162 professionals, and they decided to poll them to ask what they thought a next step should be.

Based on the responses to the survey, it was clear that a newsletter was in order. Regarding the formation of an organization, some concerns were expressed, stating that it was important to encourage informal interaction and dialogue. In the summer of 1983, they formed an organizing committee that additionally included Lee Birk, Jeanne Phillips, George Stricker, and Barry Wolfe. They all agreed that it was time to breathe life into their list of interested individuals by forming a formal organization that would facilitate informal contacts among the members. That was the birth of SEPI, which has since grown into an interdisciplinary organization of international scope.



Paul Wachtel, Ph.D.
Past President

Distinguished Professor
Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology
City College and Graduate Center, City University of New York

SEPI has been an important part of Dr. Wachtel's life from the time it was founded. Dr. Wachtel describes his first SEPI meeting in Annapolis, Maryland in 1983 as "probably the single most exciting meeting I have ever attended. There were about 100 or 150 people there as I recall, and we were all up almost all night exchanging ideas and reveling in the excitement of intense conversations across the artificial, but powerful, boundaries that had characterized our field."

Dr. Wachtel goes on to say: "Although there is something special about the first time, there are also ways in which the experience deepens over the years (are my psychoanalytic roots showing here?). SEPI meetings have continued to be experiences unique in my professional life, venues where people check their egos at the door and talk with people rather than at people, where listening is as important as speaking, and where I am continually being updated on developments outside my usual field of perception.

"Like most of SEPI’s members, I continue to have strong ties to my original point of view (in my case, psychoanalytic) and in my day to day professional life, it is input from that direction that dominates. SEPI enables me to hear what is happening in the other "ethnic enclaves” in our field, to keep up to date in a way that would be utterly impossible by attending just psychoanalytic meetings (or, for SEPI members with different origins, just meetings of ABCT, AFTA, etc).

SEPI has also been a place where I have been able to meet colleagues and forge friendships across national boundaries as well as disciplinary ones. I have given talks and workshops in many countries throughout the world, and a very large percentage of those would never have happened without the contacts and friendships I have made over the years with SEPI members from every continent. SEPI is a truly international organization, and that too is part of its richness.

In recent years, I have been gratified to see a new generation of SEPI leaders and contributors emerging. In part this gratification stems from the confirmation this provides that SEPI will continue to be a vital organization, growing and thriving in this new century. But most of all I am gratified because it means that there is a whole new generation of people I can learn from. What most characterizes a SEPI member, it seems to me, is that we are a greedy bunch. But greedy in the best possible way – not for money or material objects but for new knowledge. To belong to SEPI means not to rest content with the "truths” you were taught in graduate school but to challenge, or at the very least, expand those truths. SEPI continues to expand my thinking. Having a whole new generation to steal ideas from (well, borrow or integrate ideas sounds better, doesn’t it?) is a prospect that will hopefully keep my own thinking young as well."

Other Board Members

Diane Arnkoff, Franz Caspar, Louis Castonguay, Andres Consoli, Jack Drescher, Larry Feldman, Hector Fernandez-Alvarez, Diana Fosha, Carol Glass, Rhonda Goldman, Les Greenberg, Shigeru Iwakabe, Bob Kohlenberg, Shelley McMain, Nancy McWilliams, Stan Messer, John C. Norcross, Tahir Özakkas, Alberta Pos, George Silberschatz, George Stricker, Antonio Vasco, Jerry Wakefield, LaPearl Winfrey, Barry Wolfe, Zofia Milska Wrzosinska

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