Authority, Leadership and Spirituality In A Culture of Nationalism -- A Group Relations Program at the National Clinical Training Seminars (NCTS) Conference

15 Apr 2019 9:06 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

Authority, Leadership and Spirituality

In A Culture of Nationalism

A Group Relations Program
at the
National Clinical Training Seminars (NCTS) Conference

College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy
Loyola Retreat House, Morristown, NJ
April 29-30, 2019

This program provides members with opportunities to experience and study the nature of authority and the interpersonal and intergroup problems encountered in its exercise. The ability of individuals to work effectively in groups and organizations is influenced by the way in which authority is vested, and how responsibilities for leadership and followership are assumed. The forces which influence this process can best be understood when they are seen in actual operation. Therefore, this program offers the opportunity to study what happens in and among groups at the same time it is happening. Consequently, the learning which takes place occurs from the direct experience of the individual. The aim is to bring together experience and thought, emotion and intellect, without neglecting one for the other.

Since the exercise of authority is dependent upon the presence of others, the program’s focus of study is upon groups rather than individual personalities. Although the individual is important, it is our experience that the complexities of group life are best examined and understood when the attention shifts from the narrower perspectives of the individual to the group as a whole. This broadened perspective, shifting the emphasis from the individual to the group, distinguishes this program from sensitivity training or encounter groups.

The program is open-ended in that that there is no attempt to prescribe what anyone shall learn. The intent, rather, is to provide an institutional structure within which program participants can experience and examine the many dimensions and aspects of authority in a variety of contexts. Participants will have opportunities to:

· Examine the nature of leadership, authority and spirituality in diverse groups and organizations;

· Explore the development of collective dynamics, overt and covert, in group settings, and examine the influence of such dynamics on the life of the group-as-a-whole and on individual group members;

· Explore questions about leadership, authority and spirituality, membership and participation, sub-group formation, issues of social identity, as they emerge; and 

· Examine the concepts of boundary, authority, role and task as they relate to the work of diverse groups and organizations.

Program Events

Program Opening:  As the initial event of the program, the Opening involves all members and staff.  The Program Director will introduce the task, provide a brief theoretical framework for our work, and review the events. 

The Large Group: All members and staff of the program will comprise the Large Group in a here and now format. The task of the Large Group is to study the group’s behavior as it occurs, with the assistance of the Program Director. While the Large Group also provides opportunities to explore both the overt and covert factors influencing behavior in groups and how members take up personal authority, it highlights dynamics that may occur in large assemblies or in crowds or mobs, where face-to-face interactions are limited. The formation includes a spiral of participants in the center of the room who will actively participate as they are encircled by an outer ring of participants who will serve as silent observers. All members will take up both roles. In these dual roles members and staff will have the opportunity to experience and examine aspects of the system as they occur in the “here-and-now.”

Program Discussion: Following the fourth Large Group which is the last “here-and-now” event, this event provides an opportunity for everyone to speak and reflect on the program experience together.


Kimberley A. Turner, PhD, M. Div., Consultant. Associate Minister, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, DC; Program Manager, D.C. Health Department; Past President, the Washington-Baltimore Center for the Study of Group Relations, and Associate, A.K. Rice Institute.


The Loyola Retreat House is at
161 James Street, Morristown, NJ 07960,
and can be reached by calling (973) 539-0740. 

Registration deadline is 20-April 2019. 

Please read the registration options carefully - if you need to arrive the night before the conference, there is an option for early arrivals on Sunday, 29-April after 3 PM. 

There is a $50 non-fundable deposit for cancellations.