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Things to consider when looking to attend a conference

Nov 13, 2021



November 14, 2021

Things to consider when looking to attend a conference

It’s not always about CEU’s!

Do you mind if I ask you a question?

Why do you attend an event or conference?

I mean what’s your motivation, your purpose for taking time out of your regular routine to go to a healthcare related event?  

Or, any conference for that matter?

I ask because, think about it.  How often do you end up dreading going to a conference or a course, because you hate to give up your weekend?

Or, perhaps you were saving that PTO for a big trip you hope to make later in the year?

Maybe you hate spending the money to attend?

Worse yet, your reason could be any combination of the above.

It is typical that the weekend (or the event) ends up being rather bland and stodgy.  The notion is that the event was a success if 1-2 nuggets came out of it.

So this begs the question: Why do we attend these things then?

Let's first consider the four different reasons - and, thus, four different types of events - there are for us to be present.

First, there is the need to fulfill a requirement for our licensure.  This is the most prevalent reason for giving up our precious weekends.

Secondly, there are conferences designed to help one with personal growth.

Some gatherings are devoted to advancing business growth.

The final possibility is that there is a special event where the attendees gain a rush of momentum, and they leave feeling motivated to grow their practice AND inspired by the communion of people that leads to a new level of personal development.

Of these types, which are you more inclined to sign up for?

What is your purpose?

Better yet, what purpose does the conference fulfill?

When you think about it, there is a good reason why most don’t really look forward to spending their free time going to a course or conference that is CEU driven.  

Yes, (we) are excited to learn something new.  And, as mentioned, we hope that (we) will garner a nugget or two.

However, that is about as far as the excitement goes - usually. 

So why does attending a CEU event typically come with dread?

Perhaps it is because this particular source is addressing a requirement versus fulfilling a personal purpose.

In other words, we concern ourselves with “Does it offer CEU’s?” because, well, quite frankly, that is what the Establishment has trained us to ask.  

And it seems to be the only type of learning that the Establishment is concerned about.

Don’t get us wrong.  We need CEU’s, and we should continue to learn.

But is that the only type of learning - and growing - that there is?

We think not.

When the emphasis is placed on the attainment of CEU’s (or not), we propose that this can be one contributor to the ill-fated burnout.

Here’s why.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with learning new therapy-related tactile skills, procedures, and the latest research, when that is the only type of learning event that (you) are attending, other areas of who you are may be ignored.

Look at it this way.  The kid who spends all of their time playing video games can often have awkward interpersonal skills.  Their athletic prowess tends to be less than stellar.  Attention to school work may wane.  Quite often these types of kids fall short in their self-confidence, and they may appear “withdrawn” from the world.  Even their personal hygiene may take a back seat.

The result is a generally unhealthy kid.

When the only learning that is happening is “how to improve therapy skills”, however that may look, then the most important element of the therapist can be neglected: the therapist, the person.

There have been many courses that we have gone to where the participants are excited about what they have learned, and they ask the question: “How do we market this?”  

The answer from the presenter is usually a vague response.  It may even be a “Don’t worry about it.”

Even if you are a staff clinician, being encouraged in your business sense can be a great thing not only for you, but for the clinic, as well.

Being around others with whom you feel empowered to open up can inspire personal growth. 

Particularly when these other individuals are there for the same reasons as you.  That is, to grow rather than to try to impress others with how talented they already are with their skills.  

We all know that there is always the subtle competition amongst attendees to display their smarts, and to show others “here’s what I do for (this)”.

It would be hard to argue that personal development actually hinders one’s growth as a therapist.

Imagine how much less burnout there might be if we started looking at events and conferences in the light of for what purpose does this actually serve me?

If the purpose - your purpose - for being a clinician is to be the best darn clinician possible, then we challenge you to look beyond the CEU offering (or lack thereof).

Your time spent may not get you 14 hours of credit.  

But, it may earn you personal and / or professional growth that is far more valuable.  

You may even expand your current network of clinicians to whom you can lean on as you strive to be your very best.

We are firm believers in the fact that  your business growth will never exceed your personal development.

And how well can you grow as a therapist if you are ignoring these two?

All the best,

Josh, Kevin, David - UNCAGED CLINICIAN


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