You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. ~ Zig Zeglar
I’ve been thinking back on EMDR events I’ve hosted over the years. Organizing events is something I started doing with spiritual events from The Power of Now days, and then with EMDR. The first two EMDR trainings I organized in Dallas were Greg Smith on using EMDR with peak performance and children, and Roy Keissling, when he was doing a workshop on resourcing. That was in probably 2005 or 2006. They weren’t well attended which made it not feasible to continue doing.
I picked it back up again three years ago, hosting Uri Bergman and his workshop on The Neurobiology of EMDR. That event was successful thanks to the help of Sylvia Hubbard and her marketing prowess. Attendance was good, about 60 people, and she also brought in some addiction treatment centers to help defray the costs. Since then I’ve hosted Carol Forgash on working with complex trauma and most recently the prodigious AJ Popky on the DeTUR model. The next events on the horizon are Mary Rixford, “EMDR Meets Narrative Therapy,” in the Fall and Roger Solomon on EMDR and Attunement, and EMDR with Grief, next Spring.
Truly, the best part of organizing these events is meeting the teachers. They are accomplished people who are really into what they do and so they are always interesting and fun to talk to. The other best part is meeting and getting to know the attendees. As I think about this, I’m realizing that “Interest” is the key word here. I invite people to present on topics I’m personally interested in – in this case EMDR and related topics – and the people who attend are also ‘interested’ in the topic which is why they’re attending. So, we’re generating a field of interest for the mind to enjoy, in the pursuit of helping others.
The most stressful part of doing an event is the lead up to when the teacher begins talking. The more attendees, the more stress. Attendees need to see and attendees need to hear. That means sound needs to be clear, and loud enough for all to hear, and slides need to show up on the screen. That may be obvious and easy but I don’t take it for granted when it’s my job to make it happen. (The thing that drives me the most nuts, by the way, is when I’m asked, “Where is the bathroom?” when I’m setting up. It’s as if, all public places don’t have bathrooms with plenty of signs directing patrons to their less than hidden locations.)
The next step, for me, is finding ways to make the events better “than just EMDR workshops” – by adding value to the knowledge, training and CEs that are already expected as part of the package. Here are some ideas:
Facilitating people connecting by doing things like pass around a “Networking Contact List” which is then sent to all attendees. (I’ve been to several events where a list was passed around, but I never got it emailed to me later.)
Making the event friendly by offering a brief networking moment, and/or providing a table for business cards and information about their practice. Announcing this in emails that lead up to the event so that people can know to bring their materials with them would be important. We can also facilitate lunch groups, so that people who don’t know each other can easily meet and gather for a networking lunch and get to know each other, in that way. Helping facilitate practicum groups in a way to mix things up so that people who don’t know each other can meet up but also being sensitive to the idea that some people have colleagues they want to work with and honor that.
Offering personal take home videos about having attended the training for therapist attendees to put on their websites is a recent addition. Videos where they say, “Hey, I took this training, this is what I learned and here is how I can use it to help us in our therapy.” Including the teachers in those videos will be the next step. My concern is that people don’t how to do this, that is, post the videos on their websites, nor do they see the value in it. The weird part about this is that while I think it’s a great idea, and I see the value in it, I don’t have one with me on my website. (I guess it’s like going on vacation and taking pictures of everyone else and none of me.)
Offering and providing a link to the attendees’ therapy practice on CompassionWorks is also offered. This is an idea that is developing. I still have 90 people to enter from the last workshop because it’s a tedious task to check the data. I need to make it so it becomes an automatic part of registration, so if people want to be on the CompassionWorks resource list, it can happen automatically. (Actually, any EMDR therapist reading this who wants to be listed on CompassionWorks, follow the link above and “Submit A Listing.”)