This blog is for discussions regarding the symposium Keynotes

David Whyte


I felt the wind at my back, just a few minutes into David Whyte's keynote address on Saturday morning. I knew I was embarking on a journey with a wise and generous guide who could show me how to see with fresh eyes. I followed, trusting his knowledge of the landscape of the heart and his willingness to share, with sincerity, the ups and downs of  his own journey.

He led us through a varied landscape  a mix of poetry and story, reflection and prophecy. Along the way he invited us to consider again the landmarks of our own interiority.  In his company, I was emboldened to look and to see how beauty can rise from ash; how the hurt and experiences we try to avoid are simply milestones on the road of a life rich in promise.

He shared a touching anecdote about connecting with his teenage daughter
over tea. Then there was his powerful reading of Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 and, just after, a turning in the road of his address brought us to this astonishing statement:

"There's no journey of sincerity that a human being can take in life without having their heart broken."

He invited us to engage in all aspects of our lives — our loves, our work, our relationship with ourselves — in the full knowledge that we will fall short:

"If you don't become disappointed in yourself, you're not trying."

Then, with his well-known gentleness and wit, he encouraged us to abandon ourselves anyway:  

"There is no way you can love without getting your heart broken, so why not get good at it?"

I laughed, I teared up and I was encouraged — literally. I left with my heart open and feeling brave about the road ahead and whatever I would encounter on my way.

I believe I was not alone.

Let us know how David Whyte touched you — in his morning address or during the workshops.
03.29.2011   Posted In: Keynotes   By meghan oconnell
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Don Meichenbaum, Technology and the Future of Psychotherapy


Today’s lunch with Don Meichenbaum, Ph.D., the renowned founder of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and current Research Director at the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment, was the perfect complement to Sherry Turkle’s morning’s keynote. This morning, Turkle spoke about how our relationships with technology may be harmful to our relationships with each other. Meichenbaum’s presentation, “Technology and the Future of Psychotherapy,” told the other side of the story: how our digital gadgets can be extremely helpful as part of therapy.

Throughout his presentation, he gave us examples of how, through his specific work and through future possibilities, technology can be a key to improving mental health. His work on the Melissa Institute is all available on their website for free, for any mental health professional, educator—or anybody at all—to learn from and use.

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03.25.2011   Posted In: Keynotes   By Jordan Magaziner
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Sherry Turkle's Keynote: "Cyber Intimacy & Solitude"


This morning’s keynote, “Cyber Intimacy and Cyber Solitude” with Sherry Turkle, perfectly fit the theme of this year’s Symposium, “Braving New Worlds”—and Rich Simon’s musical production of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” also appropriately fit the theme of exploration. Turkle, the director of MIT’s Initiative on Technology and Self and a clinical psychologist, spoke about the evolution of our relationships with technology, as illustrated by her extensive studies, as well as her own, changed perspectives and understanding of our beloved electronics.

In the 1970s, she was hired by MIT to teach sociology, but was so struck by the “love affair” she reported students having with computers that she decided to change her role at MIT to instead study and track these shifting relationships.

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03.25.2011   Posted In: Keynotes   By Jordan Magaziner
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Meet this year's Visionaries


sherry_turkleOver the years, one important source of this sense of discovery has been the remarkable roster of speakers who have addressed the meeting, a group that over the years has included important figures like Maya Angelou, Elie Wiesel, Mario Cuomo, and Gloria Steinem. The group of featured speakers who will be presenting at the 2011 Symposium will hardly disappoint.

Opening this year’s Symposium will be MIT professor Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and anthropologist who’s spent the past 30 years studying the pervasive psychological impact of digital communications technologies on our lives. For a taste of her illuminating insights, click here to read an interview with her from the January issue of the Networker. You can also watch a video featuring Turkle on the process by which “we make our objects and our objects make us,” as she’s said.

On Saturday morning, poet David Whyte, a mesmerizing speaker and story-teller, will bring his unique powers of expression and vision to the task of describing the courage and creativity needed for “Crossing the david_whyteUnknown Sea” into the uncertain future this year’s Symposium will explore. If you’re not familiar with David, just click here for a Networker profile of him and his work. You can also watch a brief excerpt from his unforgettable 2009 Symposium presentation to see him in action.

Finally, Sunday begins with an address by renowned therapist Johnjohn_gottman Gottman on “The New Science of Trust.” At a time when the fabric of society seems to be irreversibly fraying, he’ll describe the crucial therapeutic significance of his latest research on enhancing human trust and connection. For an overview of John’s crucial contribution to the couples therapy field, check out this Networker article featuring him and his work or take a sneak peek at John in action here.

This blog will continue to give you a close-up view of the people and events coming up at this year’s Symposium that we think deserve your special attention, whether or not you decide to attend. Stay tuned on Fridays for more of our Symposium Countdown.

Rich Simon,
Editor, Psychotherapy Networker

01.14.2011   Posted In: Keynotes   By Rich Simon
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