Engaging the Emotional Brain

Highlights from Symposium 2014

May/June 2014

With over 3,000 high-spirited attendees and 150 workshops, the annual Networker Symposium is a four-day festival of inspiration in which therapists from around the country get a chance to step out of the often monastic isolation of their professional lives. They come together to scan the horizons of the field, exploring the new ideas, clinical innovations, and research developments that are generating buzz within the profession. Here’s a look at some of the people, events, and ideas from this year’s Symposium that attracted the spotlight.

Rich Simon on the Cult of Emotion

In his welcoming remarks, Networker editor Rich Simon reminded the audience of how radically the psychotherapy profession has transformed the cultural attitude toward emotion since the days of Freud.

Among the many things that would be startling to my parents about this Symposium, including the sight of me standing up here today, would be our conference theme—Engaging the Emotional Brain—and all this talk about emotion. As survivors of the Great Depression and solid citizens of the 1950s, it never occurred to them that people would discuss—much less act out—their emotions, particularly the more lurid, less presentable ones. To them, emotions were private, unacknowledged, and meant to remain that way. Blabbing about how you felt, or how you wanted to feel, or what you thought other people were feeling—much…

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