1st Conference a Smashing Success!

April 9th, 2011

Photo courtesy of Christine Moers

By Billy Kaplan, LCSW – HCC President & Clinical Director

Did you feel that? You must have. We all did: the despair-hope-possibility that brought us together, and the wave of change that touched us all at the Parenting in SPACE conference. I’ve been holding this in since we said, “see-you-later-thank-you” on the final day of the conference, since I haven’t had a moment to stop and breathe since. Not just a momentary “breath”… enough time to fully breathe. Ah…

Over the course of one extraordinary weekend, we came together and became a community that was safe, supportive, challenging, and FUN. You brought your hopes, your fears, and your trust, and you opened yourselves to your vulnerabilities and took risks. We journeyed together to SPACE and entangled our life-lines. We took turns being therapeutic. While House Calls Counseling had a modest goal for the conference of providing opportunities for parents to learn what we believe to be the essentials of therapeutic parenting, we didn’t imagine the opportunities YOU would provide to help US grow – to expand our own understanding of what it means to be therapeutic.

So now our challenge is not just to think about how great the weekend was. Our challenge is what we will DO with what happened. Already a number of you have taken to your blogs to start to process, make sense of, and celebrate some of the magic of the weekend’s experience. Many of you have already had the “opportunity” to try out new techniques when you came home to children dysregulated from the separation.

Let’s none of us kid ourselves – we’ll have a difficult time remembering, let alone practicing, all of what we learned. That’s at least in part because we were so present, so in the moment during those two days. I believe our goal can be to bring to our daily lives at least some of the spirit of what we experienced.

And maybe that means just trying to be as present with the people in our day-to-day lives as we were with each other at the conference. Maybe it means trying out a letter – S.  P.  A. C.  E. – and see how well we can fumble through it, or how we can toss it aside because of its incredible failure in that moment and try ANOTHER letter. Maybe we’ll remember that we can only, ever, be “good enough.” That part of our practice of being therapeutic means we’ll only aim to hit it 75% of the time. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll forgive ourselves for the other 25%. Maybe we’ll just let it go. Or we’ll encourage the letting-go in each other.

So, we at House Calls Counseling will be working on creating continued opportunities for you to extend the Parenting in SPACE experience. That means we plan on creating podcasts and videos of some of the conference workshops, and it also means we’ll be getting busy right away planning next year’s conference!

I believe as a result of what we did together, children’s lives will be changed because their parents’ lives were changed, and in the process, therapists’ lives were changed. What an amazing thing to have done together!!

Stay tuned!