Future View: Charting Psychotherapy’s New Horizons
Gary Small, Susan Johnson, and William Doherty
This year, in addition to our regular assortment of all-day workshops, we’re beginning Sunday morning by borrowing the format of the renowned TED Talks in which leading thinkers and innovators present 20-minute encapsulations of their ideas on subjects of compelling significance. We’ve asked three leading figures in our field each to address a theme they consider critical to the future of therapeutic practice. After the three presentations, you may join the speaker of your choice for an extended exploration of the theme or choose from a range of other Sunday workshops. All workshops will end at 1:00 p.m.
Therapy in the Age of iBrain
We’re engaged in a massive and unprecedented human experiment with the impact of digital technology on our mental lives, our emotions, our relationships. While the new devices and apps, along with the vastly expanded opportunities for social networking, have extended human capacities beyond the wildest dreams of our grandparents (or even our parents), they come with personal costs that we haven’t yet begun to calculate or understand. Is the use of technology actually altering—in ways good and bad—the evolution of the human brain? How should therapists think about these transformations, and respond to them with their clients?
Gary Small, a renowned neuroscientist and expert on brain function, is the coauthor with Gigi Vorgan of iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind. He was named one of the world’s leading innovators in science and technology by Scientific American magazine.
Harnessing the Power of Emotion
Clients come to therapy because they’re hurting, not because they’ve made fully rational decisions to change their behavior. Ultimately, emotion is the most important motivating force bringing clients to our offices in the first place. Nevertheless, therapists are often strangely queasy in the presence of strong emotion—worried things might get out of hand—even though it’s from the cauldron of raw affect that resolution and healing typically comes. This talk will offer a vivid picture of how we can take full therapeutic advantage of the emotional force field to propel the process of change, and how we can become healers more at home with our own, often roiling, emotions.
Susan Johnson, the originator of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), a groundbreaking treatment approach rooted in Attachment Theory and the field’s most empirically validated approach to couples therapy, is the director of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute. Her books include The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors, and Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for Lifetime of Love.
Therapy as a Conversational Craft
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 will highlight what it means to be a skilled conversational partner to someone in emotional trouble, including the fine points of judiciously using body language, tone of voice, timing, and pacing, the sorts of questions to ask, when to heat things up and when to cool them down, and more.
William Doherty 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.