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Our Digital Starship: When the Unimaginable Becomes Reality

Rich Simon

By Rich Simon Two years ago, when we put out an issue about digital technology and how it was revolutionizing the way we experienced our relationships, I was having a little revolution of my own.  A long-time Luddite who’d been dragged into the Computer Age, I had just acquired my first iPod and was in a state of deep infatuation, entranced by the possibilities for connection and entertainment promised by that little digital baby.

Now, two years later as I write this blog on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (still trying to recover from the National Annual Eatathon), it seems inconceivable to me that I ever lived without one—or without all my other portals into the cloud.  In just those two years, the Networker has moved so much farther into the astounding, intimidating, magical, fearful—and now perfectly ordinary—digital universe that I’m almost unsurprised to find myself actually blogging. (True, I’m still not sure that I know exactly what a blog actually is, but no matter—I can still send one out!).

Even just two years ago, it seemed far-fetched to think that so much of what the Networker offers would be available in some form or another online—not just the magazine, but much of the Symposium, our webcasts, webinars, special interviews, video features, reading courses, audio courses, not to mention the increasingly lively—and essential—running commentary about all of it provided by the community of practitioners that sustains everything that we do. Rather than the old-fashioned print-based magazine of yore, these days I think of us as a kind of digital starship that includes anybody and everybody in the extended Networker world who wants to join in on the conversation.

With the help of technology, we have truly become something that was just an abstract conception a few years ago– a genuine, ongoing Community of Practice—a kind of town square for therapists, a meeting place where members of our special tribe could always find each other, share knowledge and insights and shop-talk.

I love the Networker magazine and the Symposium, but the fact is that a bi-monthly print offering and a once-a-year convocation of the faithful just can’t sustain the kind of expanding, multi-dimensional, learning environment therapists need today—one in which we can connect and engage in conversation about our vocation, our questions and challenges, the difficulties we meet every day in session, our good ideas (and our not-so-good ideas), our failings and successes. If you just explore all the nooks and crannies of the Networker website, you’ll see that this is not just a metaphor, a conceit, but a daily, living reality.

In a way that I could never have imagined while I was in grad school or in my early years as a therapist starved for new clinical insights, trying to track down the latest developments in psychotherapy, we have become a digital village in which a truly global conversation is only a few computer-key clicks away every day. We have some exciting plans for even further expansion of the reach and depth of that conversation in the coming year. Stay posted.

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20 Responses to Our Digital Starship: When the Unimaginable Becomes Reality

  1. Thomas Bruce says:

    Love it, Richard. Mazel tov!

  2. Quin Middleton says:

    Information on all Psychotherapy Networker workshops .I need the information answered CU’S.

  3. Tom Nolan says:

    Thanks to you and your amazing staff of professionals for generating up-to-date, stimulating and affordable learning experiences for myself and many other members of the therapeutic community. Presentations are challenging and thought-provoking…and easily available.

  4. Tom Cloyd says:

    I find that the psychotherapist community is one of the least digitally-literate communities with which I have contact, sadly, yet it IS slowly catching up. This really IS a a brave new world, and there’s a lot to learn. That’s GOOD – for our brains, our sense of engagement with our work, and our clients.

    The Internet is a HUGE asset, if one will be use it intelligently. I smile to imagine where we’ll be ten years from now. It’ll be good for everyone…assuming we’re not in the middle of a major ecological crisis, and the political crisis that it will surely provoke.

    I often think that we all should be focusing more on the problem of improving the reality orientation of the general public, where there is currently far too much denial and avoidance of some real challenges that absolutely need proactive engagement by all of us. I don’t think we can afford much longer to focus merely on our professional lives. What our profession teaches us about people surely can be put to good use in a broader context. I’m pleased to see that Psychoth.-Networker increasingly evidences this reality. Very encouraging!

  5. Louise M Smith says:

    Well Done! Not in a million years would I have thought that terms like “digital, technology, and cyber” would make way for “community, creativity, and inspiration” and yet, they have! Thanks for jogging that awareness!

  6. What you and your Digital Starship are doing Richard is so important to me and to clinicians everywhere, I believe. I have benefited greatly from your interviews, and I look forward to what you have in store for us in the future. Thank you for your excellent work.

  7. Rich, you have come a long way indeed! I was there!
    Melinda

  8. Meant to add this link to an article that you and Networker fans would probably…well, “enjoy” is not the right word. Call it the darker side of social media and therapists:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/magazine/psychotherapys-image-problem-pushes-some-therapists-to-become-brands.html?pagewanted=3

    • Diane Lindner says:

      I’d love to see a thoughtful response to the Times article. I think the writer speaks for a number of frustrated therapists, but does so at the very cynical cost of mocking both coaching and valuable shorter-term therapies. She also doesn’t seem to know that coaching is NOT marketed as a therapy, but that competent therapists can enjoy the change of pace they experience when getting good education and practice in coaching.

  9. Dorothy Whitehurst says:

    Now that we both have a new I pad how about making it possible for subscribers of the Psychotherapy Networker to read our journal on our I Pads. Having the Networker on my I Pad bookshelf would definitely enhace my reading experience.
    Many thanks for making it possible for me to stay current and at the same time enjoy the learning.

  10. Jude says:

    I am new to your site and love all that I have shared in. Many appreciative thank yous to all who keep the starship in its orbit and generously beaming.

  11. Kris says:

    Thank you for taking the time, on your Sunday, to write. I’m continually impressed with your commitment and investment to the Networker. It couldn’t be what it is today without you and your staff. I’ve loved the webinars – I count that as one of the blessings of technology you spoke of. Thank you again

  12. Rich,
    With the digital edge here, when do you foresee the Psychotherapy Networker magazine being offered in a online format option versus the current paper back-format.

  13. jane buhl says:

    This is a good moment to say congratulations and thanks to you and your staff, Rich. I have enjoyed growing and learning along with the Networker crew from the early days…The Networker has been such a unique and valuable resource for the field. Delighted to hear your current enthusiasm! Many thanks.

  14. Elizabeth Redman says:

    Richard, Hi from Australia. Thanks for leading us so warmly. I am an ex-luddite who loves the sense of connection this new world brings. It is still a steep learning curve for me. Who could believe it could all happen so quickly? I-phone, I-pad…..www….I can “face-time” my kids in Denmark – so good. And.. attempt to keep abreast of the blow-out in psychological knowledge.

  15. eskibort says:

    Richard, You are my inspiration this morning…thanks so much for being You!! Have learned so much from “Who is Afraid of Couple Therapy.” I use it daily. Thank you thank you.

  16. Brenda Rozier-Clark says:

    Thanks, Rich, for your leadership in ushering in the digital age for the Psychotherapy Networker. When I read the Networker articles Online, their right-at-my-fingertips wisdom is so pertinent that I want to print the articles! At this juncture, I see that I still benefit from having the journal in hand each month, no printing required, with the Online in-the-moment articles as an essential part of my educational library…a perfect combination! The Networker webcasts, workshops, etc., you’re offering…fantastic opportunities! Much appreciation to all the Networker folks.

  17. Myrta Lange says:

    What the networder has offered,and the new star the webinars have been a great source of learning.
    Thanks to you and your staff for making this possible.Hearing the voices of so many intereting thinkers and other colleagues from different parts of the world has been stimulating. Myrta Lange, Buenos Aires

  18. John Leverington says:

    For all the progress the Networker has made over the years in staying in the forefront of therapy news there is one glaring exception. Magazines are going digital. I can download newsweek and other publications to read on my ipad. When will the Networker be available to take with me on the plane and be available when I am living outside the US. It is time become international in scope and practice.

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