I’m home, basking in the afterglow of the Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference held last week in Anaheim, California. Taking place just down the street from Disneyland, which calls itself “the happiest place on earth,” I think that title was temporarily hijacked by the 8,000 plus attendees from 50 countries who rocked the Anaheim Convention Center.
The Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference featured an extraordinary faculty of practitioners and researchers who, collectively, define the field. The art and science of psychotherapy was explored from nearly every conceivable angle. Organized by The Milton H. Erickson Foundation and steered by its Director, Jeffrey K. Zeig, Ph.D., the tradition of holding this special meeting every 4-5 years continues and just gets stronger each time.
What an honor to be invited to join this special faculty, now for my second time (the first was in 2009). As a faculty member, I was asked to provide a wide variety of presentations, including two workshops, a clinical demonstration of hypnosis in psychotherapy, join a panel discussion on the topic of depression with co-panelists Christine Padesky, Ph.D., and Jon Carlson, Ph.D., both of whom were absolutely fantastic to listen to and share ideas with, and hold a dialogue with my close friend and mentor, Gestalt pioneer Erv Polster, Ph.D.
The sheer intellect of all the faculty members was awe inspiring. Especially wonderful for me, though, was to have the chance to again see some of the true legends of the field, pioneers like Aaron Beck who joined the conference via a SKYPE interview with his daughter, Judith Beck (seen below on the screen in the arena) and Salvadore Minuchin (pictured below with me before we enjoyed a wonderful lunch generously offered each day for the faculty by the Erickson Foundation).
It’s hard to describe the enthusiasm, the high energy output of that many people in one place all passionate about their chosen career path. Many touching stories were told, many exciting new developments were revealed, and many new friendships were forged. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. If you weren’t, fortunately it was all recorded. These recordings will be available from The Milton H. Erickson Foundation in early 2014.
Here are a few additional pictures that Diane took of the conference:
My clinical demonstration in the Anaheim Convention Center arena entitled, “Attention with Intention: Applying Clinical Hypnosis in Psychotherapy and Behavioral Medicine.”
My workshop on Global Thinking and Mental Health in the Marriott Hotel.
It was great to see so many of my students, colleagues and friends. A very fulfilling way to end this year!
Happy Holidays and best wishes for a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year for all!