Last week, I spent Wednesday through Sunday in Washington, D. C., for the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium. It was my first time at the Symposium, and it will not be my last!
The Symposium brings together the best and brightest across fields of psychotherapy, as well as keynote speakers whose ideas are reshaping our worldviews. At this year’s symposium, Daniel Siegel, Gabor Maté, and Malcolm Gladwell were among the featured speakers.
During this conference, I had the privilege of meeting Bill Doherty, Terry Real, Elliott Connie, Malcolm Gladwell, Scott Sells, among others. However, what stands out as most meaningful was meeting members of the Refreshed Therapist Network communities, during our first RTN live gathering.
Photos of our live gathering
During the symposium, I attended the following workshops:
Getting Your Book Into Print, Chris Willard + Mitch Ablett
I’ve been conducting informal research on the book publishing process for several years, and for that quest, I chose to attend this workshop. I wasn’t sure what I would gain, given my current level of knowledge. Thankfully, Chris and Mitch were candid about the book publishing process, sharing details about advances, literary agents, book promotion, and more. In addition, they brought acquisitions editors to the workshop who spoke about the kind of books they seek, as well as how to succeed with a book proposal. The workshop was well worth my time!
I’ve shared some of my research on this subject inside the RTN membership. We currently have a masterclass on the publishing process, from writing, to finding an agent, to promoting your book. If this interests you, click here to learn more about the membership.
Compassionate Inquiry, Gabor Maté
Within the framework of compassionate inquiry, Dr. Maté challenged our views on diagnoses, illness, stress, trauma, healing, and more. Approaching his work from a wholeness perspective, Maté gently, yet boldly, explained how our current Western ideologies are simplistic, as well as how our lifestyles and histories make us sick. For more on this subject, see When The Body Says No.
A few quotes from Maté:
“Things [behavioral problems, for example] are not diseases; they are problems of development . . . then therapy becomes a developmental process.”
“If the mother is suffering, the baby suffers, too. [We must address] the malignant proliferation of stress in the parenting environment.”
“You never give up on any human being, no matter what their beginnings are.”
Breakthrough Experience, Terry Real
I was blown away by Terry Real’s workshop. Real appears to be a through and through marriage and family (i.e., systemic) therapist, witnessed by his references to the field’s great thinkers and practitioners throughout the workshop. He is also, as you know, a master couple therapist, making his workshop packed with useful information.
A few quotes from Real:
About the therapist: “We’re just like you. We’re not above you. We’re not beneath you. We’re with you.”
To the therapist: “The truth reveals itself to you, if you’re really present.”
“You cannot be intimate from a shame position.”
The Sylvia Plath Problem, Malcolm Gladwell
The highlight of the Symposium was Malcolm Gladwell’s keynote address and subsequent Q+A session, for which I registered. Gladwell offered his ideas on the phenomenon of suicidality, specifically, as well as understanding behavior by tying it to place and time, in general. I won't say too much about his remarks (although, they are likely all over the internet). I will say that as always, Gladwell offered a systemic view of the problem by expanding its context and thereby, increasing its complexity.
If you, like me, are excitedly awaiting Gladwell’s upcoming book, you may appreciate the following read, in the meantime: Relational Suicide Assessment: Risks, Resources, and Possibilities for Safety, by Douglas Flemons and Leonard M. Gralnik.
Next Year’s Gathering
Meeting, in person, with #refreshedtherapists was a game-changer for me. It was inspiring to learn what this community is accomplishing and pursuing, and most importantly, to get to know members and experts as people. So, I’ve decided to make it a regular thing!
We will be gathering during the 2020 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium. If you’d like to stay in the loop about our meet-up, sign up below to receive updates by email.
I hope to see you at the next one!