What makes for a good conference? The definition varies for everyone. For me, if there are one or two things I learn that I can apply directly to my work, and if I can make one new connection with a colleague I feel quite satisfied that my time and money has been well spent.
Sometimes there are so many fabulous sessions and the schedule is so full there is little opportunity to connect with others. Other times I have walked away feeling I didn’t learn anything I could use though I met amazing people and felt re-energized by my connection with the counselling community.
The latest IAC & CCPA conferences in Victoria, BC were a balance of learning and connection.
A few of the highlights for me:
Meeting and talking with counsellors from so many different countries. Particularly in the final panel session when many of them shared their perspectives about the IAC’s vision and mission.
Andrew Samuels’ thought-provoking keynote address (and this will be an oversimplification of the topic) on Therapy and Politics. He talked about “good enough” leadership, economic inequality, therapeutic responsibility and the politics of intimate relationships. I am still mulling over what he said. Check out his website – http://andrewsamuels.com
Learning about the University of Malta’s inspiring programme in Transcultural Counselling. It is a “collaborative degree programme offered by the University of Malta and the University of New Orleans…The mission of the M.A. in Transcultural Counselling is to train world counsellors who are able to serve diverse populations worldwide. Graduates of this programme are global citizens who, as counsellors, possess a sense of social responsibility and global civic engagement, as well as global competence.”
Stephane Grenier’s honest, humourous and compassionate keynote address on Mental Health in the workplace. He spoke about his own experience with PTSD and how workplaces need to be sources of social support for those who struggle with mental illness. Hear! Hear!
Hearing about exciting new research in Technology and Counselling. Avatars, augmented reality, and applying Erikson’s stages of development to adoption of technology. I look forward to hearing the end results of the work these students are doing.
Several sessions gave me fresh ideas that I can use with my clients. Yeah!
Participating in a panel discussion with Paul Jerry, Simon Nuttgens, Lawrence Murphy and Dan Mitchell on the topic of Online Counselling. A subject near and dear to my heart.
There is so much more I could say here about what I gained. I’ll have to save it for a future blogpost.
What makes for a good conference?
Spending time with old and new friends, sharing ideas, resources, strategies, research and learning, learning, learning.
IAC/CCPA 2014 was indeed, a good conference.
See you in Niagara Falls next year at the 50th anniversary of the CCPA.
Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA