By Rich Simon Most of the therapists I speak with these days—both those brand new to the profession and the old pros who still nostalgically recall the pre-Managed Care era—seem to feel a lot like Gary Lockwood, the untethered spaceman in the great, prophetic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
You remember Gary, cut loose without oxygen or supplies by the malevolent computer HAL, whirling head over heels helplessly out into space. I think a lot of us therapists feel increasingly like Gary these days, as if the familiar world we used to know is hurtling away from us, while we are flung into…what, exactly?
A couple of months ago, a new therapist created a lot of buzz by expressing her dismay about feeling adrift in her chosen profession in The New York Times Magazine. “What nobody taught me in grad school,” wrote Lori Gottlieb, “was that psychotherapy is losing its customers.” She went on to cite statistics indicating that as many as 30% fewer clients were in therapy than a decade before and that—with its $4.2 billion direct-to-consumer advertising budget—psychopharmacology has increasingly come to dominate the mental health marketplace. She also bemoaned the absence of an accessible professional community that provided guidance and support to its members.
I think she’s right. These days, what most of us need as we balance the double-edged pursuit of earning a living and serving our clients well is the sense of connection and support that comes from being part of a professional tribe—a tribe that includes masters of the craft who will help you refine your skills and increase your understanding, scientists and visionaries who can point out new paths, and peers with whom you can consult, explore new ideas, commiserate, and celebrate.
And there’s no better place to find that tribe—your tribe—than at this year’s Networker Symposium.
The Therapist’s Craft:
Healing Connection in a Digital World
March 21-24 · Washington DC
Learn more here!
If you haven’t been to the Symposium before, it may be strange to think of 3,500 people as a tribe and our yearly gathering in the lap of hotel luxury at the Omni Shoreham as a “tribal gathering,” but it is.
Whether it’s new ideas about the cases that most challenge you, or guidance on how to build a practice that fits the economic realities of the 21st century mental health marketplace, or role models who can inspire you down a whole new path of professional development, or the prospect of conversations with people who can spark your creative spirit, or just a few days away from the familiar routine of your life to help you get a new vision of how to be the therapist you want to be—the Symposium tribal gathering has something for you.
This year, when we gather, I hope you will be with us. Everyone adds to the richness of the tribe; each attendee, speaker, and presenter brings unique gifts to the gathering. Want to get an idea of how much you will learn, be inspired, and re-energized? Just listen to what’s possible:
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