Welcome from Rich Simon
Once upon a time, the path to becoming a psychotherapist was pretty straightforward. You went to graduate school and—depending on the decade and the bent of the program—you studied family systems, psychodynamic therapy, or some strand of cognitive behavioral therapy. That was about it, choice-wise. You got your diploma, hung out your shingle, and got on with the business of helping people in a particular and fairly prescribed way.
Now, it’s a markedly different world. An explosion of brain science, the imperatives of the digital age, the influx of non-Western healing approaches, and a super-charged consumer culture have converged to create a sprawling marketplace of therapies and therapy-like practices. As the choices have multiplied, so has the range of possible identities for psychotherapists. You may see yourself as an agent of deep healing, helping people to resolve trauma and other long-term suffering. Or you may view yourself as more of a coach, inspiring and nudging people to realize their life dreams. You may envision mind-body practices as a cornerstone of your approach. Perhaps you follow a specific protocol to reduce disabling symptoms, or you look to Buddhism to help clients move toward acceptance of those symptoms. Maybe you do both, and throw in some polyvagal work for good measure. It can be exhilarating to be a psychotherapist today. But the mélange of clinical possibilities can also be overwhelming, and treatment paths sometimes unclear.
Finding our way through this dizzying therapeutic bazaar is the focus of the 41st annual Networker Symposium—The Many Paths to Transformation: From Problem Solving to Deep Healing. It’s a celebration of our professional diversity—and there’s much to celebrate—and a chance to ponder: Is there a common denominator that unites these many paths? What’s at the heart of your own identity as a psychotherapist, and do you find yourself curious about other paths to growth and healing?
At this year’s Symposium, we plumb these questions via more than 130 workshops designed to help you grasp both the connections among various therapeutic approaches and also what makes each fresh and distinctive. You’ll hear from a distinguished lineup of eminent teachers and clinicians from a wide range of disciplines and points of view. But the Symposium is much more than a seat-in-the-chair conference—it also invites you to experience yourself more directly and vividly through a host of creative offerings, from dance and yoga to theater arts and storytelling, to name just a few.
Finally, the Symposium is a bona fide festival of conversation, with plenty of opportunities to discuss the issues that matter to you with colleagues from around the world, as well as to just schmooze and unwind in the many cozy nooks of the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Get outside, too. Walk the wooded paths of nearby Rock Creek Park, or enjoy one of the exciting restaurants within a two-block radius. Take a break from your usual routine and plunge into a four-day carnival of provocative ideas, new connections, and sheer fun. In the process, we hope you discover—or rediscover—some vital element of your professional or personal identity. Who knows? You just may surprise yourself.
Editor, Psychotherapy Networker