Reflections on the annual conference.
Subject: Medical societies (Conferences, meetings and seminars)
Psychotherapists (Conferences, meetings and seminars)
Psychotherapy (Conferences, meetings and seminars)
Author: Reidenberg, Dan
Pub Date: 12/22/2008
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Winter, 2008 Source Volume: 11 Source Issue: 4
Product: Product Code: 8622000 Medical Associations NAICS Code: 81392 Professional Organizations SIC Code: 8621 Professional organizations
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 192800789

Welcome to the closing of the year. What a great year 2008 was for the American Psychotherapy Association. Our membership rose to more than 5,400 with four specialty/certification programs helping us lead the way for practitioners. The annual conference was a big success, as those of you who could make it know. We were in beautiful San Diego with lush gardens, amazing blue skies, and sun each day. Bill O'Hanlon, a former Advisory Board member and special guest of APA, started the conference out with more than 100 people learning "The Science of Happiness." It was a fantastic presentation that kept members captivated all day long and feeling very happy at the end of the day. Day 2 included a host of topics such as how to take care of yourself and avoid burnout, couples work, and health- and wellness-related topics. Both new and old faces in the breakout sessions learned new techniques for success. Our former APA Chair led the new certification for hospital psychology training, which was well received and will become a great program for our membership. We once again held our annual Advisory Board meeting in which we welcomed three new members. We also discussed how to enhance the credibility and marketing of our programs, as well as extended an invitation to all APA members to write for the new International Journal of Theoretical Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (more on this in 2009).

Renewed Hope for Our Field and Our Clients

Writing this article just days after the mental health parity law passed has me filled with hope and optimism for our work and especially our clients. We all know that regardless of the setting in which we work, what we do is hard, and at times frustrating and exhausting. However, the work of helping people change their lives is also rewarding and fulfilling. I believe that being able to see success in many ways is important, and that includes big and small steps. Seeing parity pass is a big step, but a small one truly in terms of how far we must go with that legislation for true equality. Having a client come to your office and one week tell you that nothing major or significant happened can also be a big step for them and their treatment that we should recognize, just as we do when they feel successful in something they do for the first time.

How can you help your clients see their successes? What reframing, clarifying, and correcting can you offer them that will help them see things more positively? Here are five tips that you can use:

1. Bring up the "glass is half-empty or half-full" analogy. Ask them how they are looking at things in their life and help them see things as half full.

2. Give them a homework assignment, and ask them to make a chart of how many times in a day they make a positive or negative statement. Work with them on setting realistic goals to tip the scale to more good than bad statements over a 4-week period.

3. Have your client share with you and two others a list of reasons to be satisfied, happy, successful, or fulfilled.

4. Talk with your client about their family history of seeing and celebrating success. Find out if they are walking the same path or doing something very different between generations.

5. Take a measuring stick and chart out different stages, events, etc. of your client's life on the measuring stick. Help them see how they measure how successful one was from another (i.e., graduation from college equaled two inches, getting a big promotion was three inches, running a 5K was one inch, etc.).

After doing this with enough clients you see the many areas of success they are experiencing and you will as well.


Daniel J. Reidenberg, PsyD, FAPA, CRS, MTAPA, is the chair of American Psychotherapy Association's Executive Advisory Board and has been a member since 1997. He is a Fellow and Master Therapist of the American Psychotherapy Association, the chair of the Certified Relationship Specialist, CRS, Advisory Board, and executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Contact him with your thoughts at
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