By Rich Simon
It’s a rare therapist these days who doesn’t recognize that warm, dependable connection isn’t only a primal human need—you literally can’t leave home (successfully) without it—but that it’s a critical ingredient in good therapy as well. However sharp our technical skills or penetrating our clinical insight, none of it means a thing if it ain’t got that swing, so to speak.
But as wonderful and necessary as attachment is, good therapy must be more than a long, snuggly hug. While we want our clients to feel safe, secure, and genuinely seen by us, our job requires us to also inspire, challenge, and even provoke them into new ways of feeling and thinking. That’s why the best therapists offer a kind of twofer—a stable, supportive holding presence and the clinical ingenuity to evoke something both unexpected and enlivening in the client.
At this year’s 39th annual Networker Symposium—From Attachment to Creativity: Accessing Our Resources for Change—we’d like to focus on this vital but delicate combination of almost contrary clinical traits: the ability to make clients feel safe and comfortable while at the same time nurturing the capacity for clinical daring that can propel clients outside the narrow range of their habitual comfort zones. In doing so, we also want to explore the qualities of self-awareness, personal expressiveness, and authenticity that are too often ignored in the increasingly rushed, impersonal atmosphere of clinical training today.
In a sense, the Symposium is itself a kind of twofer. It offers attendees a great, big communal group hug to make them feel as welcome and comfortable as they would if they were settling down for a cozy get-together with a bunch of longtime pals. But at the same time, it’s designed to energize, provoke, and in general, immerse participants in the often disorienting buzz that is the Symposium experience at its most effervescent. We hope you can join us to help generate that enlivening, always unpredictable buzz again this year.
Editor, Psychotherapy Networker