I never knew how many therapist conferences there were until I started actively looking for them. To be honest, I had always assumed there were just a few conferences for therapists a year. I mean... we are therapists! Yes, there would always be lots of random trainings- but an entire conference?
Hundreds of Therapist Conferences
There are literally hundreds of therapist conferences every year! Conferences can be a fabulous way to get away and get some excellent training... or they can be a huge waste of time and energy. You can be stuck sitting in entry level trainings that never get to the meat. Or, like me you could watch someone cry on command as part of their sales pitch process to the attendees- ick!
Before You Go Looking for Conferences
The first step in looking for a great conference is sitting down and doing a holistic assessment of yourself. I know you all LOVE doing thorough assessments of your client's history, strengths, and areas for growth... but when is the last time you did that for yourself? If you are going to attend a conference that is right for you- you need to know what areas you want or need to grow in, and where you are "all filled up." Here is a non-exhaustive checklist of areas you might assess:
- Your intake procedure
- Advanced specialization
- Confidence in screening and referring out
- Confidence with policies and procedures
- Your self-care routine
- Your work-life balance
- Your business plan
- Your marketing plan
- Your physical health
- Your emotional health
- Your relationships
- Your spiritual health
Sit down and take a really close look at these (and any other areas that pop up for you). You may think that your physical health has nothing to do with your clinical work- but all of it ties together! And don't worry if you've got "work" to do... we ALL do! I have a pretty nice long list of what areas I am struggling in... but I also have a nice long list of what I'm great at, and what areas I am now great at (meaning I used to suck at them!)
Why Get Personal for Business Conferences?
I was taught that conferences were for clinical training. And guess what- all of it is clinical training when you run a private practice. When I finally realized the intersection between my business practices and clinical practices it was like a lightbulb went off- and it made an important shift in my clinical outcomes.
Choosing the Best Therapist Conferences
Now that you know what you need in all areas of your life, you can start researching conferences that can help you grow in all of the areas. Struggling with your partner? Consider attending the Gottman's public facing training. You will get to experience the Gottman method first-hand (one of the best ways to learn), get a discount for attending as a therapist, and you may even be eligible for CEUs depending on your state!
Is your clinical confidence in the dumps because your phone is silent? Choose a conference where they integrate marketing and business help so you have clients to practice all your great clinical skills with!
Are you feeling uninspired and burnt out personally and professionally? Maybe you need something small and intimate where you can be inspired and creative and learn new ways to think about your work and create a vision for your next chapter.
What about you? How do you decide on the best therapist conferences? What do you look for in a killer conference?
p.s. We finally put together the feedback we got from attendees of the conference we co-created last year. If you want to see what it looks like when a therapist attends the right conference for them at the right time. Push play.