Friday Morning Keynote
The Pilgrim Way
Taking the Path of Risk and Revelation
David Whyte may be the closest thing we have to an ancient Homeric bard—someone who offers a spellbinding mix of poetry, myth, philosophical reflection, and personal anecdote to audiences all over the world. That he’s also trained as a marine zoologist and led naturalist trips in the Galapagos, South America, and the Himalayas only burnishes his credentials as a traveling wise man with a deep, spiritual connection to the natural world. His unique presentations evoke in their listeners a renewed conviction that even the most difficult experience can be an occasion for transformation.
In today’s keynote, he’ll explore what it means to view human life as a pilgrimage across unpredictable terrain while recognizing that, no matter how solitary our existence may seem at times, we’re vitally dependent upon hospitality from family, friends and strangers alike along the way.
Friday Luncheon Address
The View from Black America
Listening to the Untold Stories
In its coverage of Ferguson and Baltimore, the media has fixed on lurid images of violence and destruction without providing much context for understanding the conditions of daily life that could possibly spark such explosive outrage. As one of the most eloquent and compelling therapist/activists who has remained committed to working in poor communities, Ken Hardy has spent much of his career working in poor communities and addressing the social injustice that is often interwoven with emotional pathology. He has led the field in developing training programs and materials for human service agencies providing trauma-based, culturally sensitive care to children, couples and families.
In his address, he will explore the untold stories of the strength and resilience of the neglected inhabitants of poor communities and the role mental health professionals can play in enabling disadvantaged people to deal with tough conditions—even if the revolution doesn’t seem to be around the corner.
Saturday Morning Keynote
Attachment and the Dance of Sex
Integrating Couples and Sex Therapy
Until relatively recently, the very notion that concepts like romantic love and the longing for emotionally closeness had any scientific basis raised eyebrows among the academic research establishment. Susan Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused therapy (EFT), has not only been a clinical pioneer in demonstrating how to bring an immediate experience of deep intimacy into troubled relationships, but has brought the rigor of empirical science to bear in establishing EFT’s effectiveness. As both a clinician and researcher she has established that it is not an oxymoron to speak of the “science of love.”
In her keynote, Johnson will show how attachment science offers a new understanding of sexuality and how the emotional sanctuary of committed relationships can help partners discover their distinctive sexual signature and lead to optimal lovemaking.
Saturday Luncheon Address
The Science of Therapeutic Attunement
Intersubjective Regulation from the Inside Out
Noted researcher Paul Ekman has called psychophysiologist Stephen Porges’ work “a truly revolutionary perspective on human nature.” In his groundbreaking book, The Polyvagal Theory, Porges transformed therapists’ understanding of the underlying mechanisms of traumatic response and the how safety, caring and trustworthiness is conveyed unconsciously in our body language, voice tonality, facial expression, and eye contact. Ever since he had become an indispensable guide for therapists who want to understand, from the inside out, how the therapy works at the level of the nervous system.
In his lunchtime address, Porges will explore what polyvagal theory tells us about the common element in good therapy, good teaching, and good social relations—turning off defensiveness and establishing a sense of safety. He will show how understanding neurobiology and psychophysiological cues can enhance therapists’ capacity to create these conditions in the consulting room.
Saturday Dinner Event
The Wisdom of Mad Men
Lessons for Therapists
In its seven seasons on TV, Mad Men captivated audiences and critics alike with its mesmerizing recreation of 1960s America and its evocation of power, sex, booze, and chauvinism at a succeed-at-any-cost Madison Avenue advertising firm. With a focus on dysfunctional family life, toxic work relationships, and a cast of characters lost in a fog of addiction to tobacco, alcohol, and promiscuity, the show also provided a primetime window into the evolution of psychotherapy as both a reflection of culture and a force that shaped it.
Join psychotherapist William Doherty as he guides us through numerous clips and highlights from the series so that whether you’re a loyal fan or a newbie, you’ll be part of the interactive conversation. We’ll discuss what the show’s view of the 1960s psychotherapy scene tells us about then—and also now. We’ll explore questions about the ways in which that decade’s profound changes still reverberate today in our current views of gender, marriage, family roles, and professional success.
For a fun evening of insight and provocation, share the madness—and the method—of Mad Men!
Sunday Morning Keynote
How Hard Times Can Open the Heart
Deepening Your Brain’s Natural Powers for Healing
With his best-selling books Buddha’s Brain, Hardwiring Happiness, and Just One Thing, psychologist Rick Hanson has become the foremost explicator of the brain’s “negativity bias,” our evolutionary tendency as vulnerable mammals to be more or less continually on the lookout for danger, ready to fight or flee, and more likely to remember bad experiences than good. Integrating his background in neuroscience, contemplative practices and positive psychology, he has also become one of our foremost clinical innovators, focused on how to help clients have greater access to their inner resources and enhance their capacity for deep pleasure and savoring the moment.
In his keynote address, Hanson will focus on how our deepening understanding of neuroscience can enable us, even in times of great stress, to tap into five natural capacities of the brain that, rather than constricting us into fight, flight or freeze, can open possibilities for living fuller, more aware lives.