501 Keynote : Future View: Charting Psychotherapy’s New Horizons

William Doherty, Susan Johnson, and Gary Small

William DohertySusan JohnsonGary SmallOn the closing day of Symposium 2013, we asked three leading figures in our field to speak about what they consider to be critical to the future of therapeutic practice. Each TED Talk-style presentation is a 20-minute encapsulation of their ideas on subjects of compelling significance in psychotherapy.

Therapy as a Conversational Craft
William Doherty

The therapy field is awash in complex theories and techniques, and most of us subscribe to our favorite model among them. But the secret of success in therapy lies in recognizing that we heal not through prescription and procedures, but through talking and listening—in other words, the fine craft of conversation. This talk focuses on:

  • what it means to be a skilled conversational partner to someone in emotional trouble
  • the fine points of judiciously using body language, tone of voice, timing, and pacing
  • when to heat up therapeutic conversations and when to cool them down

William Doherty, PhD, has been a friend, advisor, and therapist’s therapist to the Networker for almost 30 years, regularly giving Symposium attendees the benefits of his broad-ranging interests, humor, and common sense. An educator, researcher, speaker, consultant, and community organizer, his books include Putting Family First, Family Therapy, Take Back Your Kids, and Take Back Your Marriage. Website: http://www.drbilldoherty.org/

Therapy in the Age of iBrain
Gary Small

Our high-tech revolution has plunged us into a state of continuous partial attention—we’re always busy with our gadgets, but never really focusing on anything. This isn’t a benign state. Scientists know that long periods of continuous partial attention put the brain into a heightened state of stress, which Gary Small calls “techno-brain burnout.” In this talk, he discusses:

  • ways in which technology is shaping our brains, for better or for worse
  • clinical issues that may well be exacerbated by the continual flow of stress hormones triggered by excessive Internet use, including depression and anxiety
  • the differences between the focused, purposeful use of technology and addictive obsession with it
  • the neuroscience behind our attachment to our gadgets, inboxes, and smartphones

Gary Small, MD, is director of the UCLA Longevity Center at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior. He’s the coauthor of iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind and The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life. Website: http://www.drgarysmall.com/

Harnessing the Power of Emotion
Susan Johnson

Clients come to therapy because they’re hurting, not because they’ve made fully rational decisions to change their behavior. Although emotion is the most important motivating force bringing clients to the consulting room, therapists are often strangely uneasy in the presence of strong feelings. Worried things might get out of hand, they forget that resolution and healing typically comes from this cauldron of raw affect. In this talk, Susan Johnson explores:

  • how we can take full therapeutic advantage of the emotional force field to propel the process of change
  • how we can become healers more at home with our own, often roiling, emotions
  • how the latest research supports models of therapy that focus on emotion

Susan Johnson, EdD, one of the originators of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), is the director of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute. She is the author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love and the upcoming book Love Sense, available in January of 2014. Websites: http://www.holdmetight.net/; http://www.iceeft.com/; http://www.drsuejohnson.com/


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