Clinician's Digest

Clinician's Digest

The Whole World Is Watching TED

By Kathleen Smith

July/August 2014

Earlier this year, therapist Michele Weiner-Davis spent hours in front of a camera, her husband patiently hitting the record button as she rehearsed for what she believed could be the most important 18 minutes of her professional career: her first TED talk.

An author of seven books and a popular workshop presenter with countless media appearances behind her, including Oprah and The Today Show, Weiner-Davis was convinced that giving a talk at a TEDx conference in Boulder, Colorado, would make a difference in her career. “I had followed what people were doing on that stage that made them so popular, and I gained an enormous amount of respect for the venue,” she says. “Giving a TED talk became part of my professional bucket list.”

Getting up not only on the TED stage, but on its website, has become a new professional milestone for many therapists in the Digital Age. First conceived in 1984 as a live conference devoted to spreading ideas about technology and design among elite thinkers in Silicon Valley, TED talks exponentially increased their audience and influence beyond the tech crowd in 2006, when they began to address a range of other topics and were uploaded online for free viewing. In 2008, they expanded to locally organized events through the TEDx program, run independently under a license from TED, with the hope of engaging an even larger audience in new ideas.

Today, TED talks have been watched more than 2 billion times, with the…

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