Kelly Higdon, LMFT and I (Miranda Palmer, LMFT) just got back from meeting with an awesome group of therapists at the CAMFT 2013 conference. Actually, it has been a little over a week since we returned.
And guess what, I am still inspired! This is one of the great benefits of networking- making real personal connection and creating a community.
Kelly and I tried something a little different this year. We have been making some awesome connections with therapists on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter- and the CAMFT Community boards- and we wanted to find a way to translate that into the personal connection.
So- we put out a call on Social Media- come and meet up to network and wear green (or a hat). At first, we were a little nervous that we would be the only people wearing green. I mean, therapists don't use social media right? Wrong!
Not only did we end up with a sea of green- we also had people coming up to us saying- "I didn't have any green- but I figured I would just look for green!"
While at previous conferences it has felt awkward to go up and start chatting with people... I always felt unsure as to whether I might be intruding- the green became an invitation for all of us to know people wanted to connect and get to know other therapists.
And, then as the tidal wave started- in addition to the "green (for growth) meetup" we sparked- people started finding ways to connect with others with similar niches: christian therapists, therapists who were Jewish meeting up for Shabbat, pre-licensed therapists meeting up, and so on.
It was if we as therapists just needed permission to connect with others. Once we knew it was "ok" and that we wouldn't be rejected- things just opened right up. I had more fun at this conference than I had at previous ones- and it felt less cliquey.
But why had it felt cliquey before? Are therapists closed off?
I don't think so. But, we can be a little nervous to meet new people some times. And I have a little confession to make. While part of me felt like the 'wear green' would be awesome and be super successful- another part of me was terrified. Yep, I lied before when I said I was just a little nervous... I was a lot nervous. Nervous that people wouldn't respond and I would look dumb. Nervous that people might not like me. Wow... isn't interesting how quickly we can hit those fun little hot buttons?
I think this is something therapists face in all aspects of their career and this profession. I think this is why sometimes we end up isolated in an office somewhere and ultimately become burnt out. We are fearful that if we step outside of our comfort zone- whether by
, going to a training event, or actively networking our business- we will be rejected.