At the beginning of July, I had the good fortune to attend a very inspiring and educational training in an area of study that is relatively new and exciting to me. The event was The Coherence Therapy Training Workshop in Sydney, Australia facilitated by Niall Geoghegan, Psy.D.. Before I give further details about my thoughts and perceptions of the enriched learning experience, I will acknowledge and explain how it came to be that as a New Westminster Career Counsellor, I was able to attend a workshop literally on the other side of the world. In December 2012, I listened to a particularly thought-provoking podcast on one of my favourite regular podcast series – ShrinkRap Radio.
In addition to the formal education required as an accredited Registered Therapeutic Counsellor in Canada, it is necessary to be actively involved in professional development, as with most licensed professionals. I enjoy this aspect of my work as it allows me to continually expand my intellectual and emotional horizons, network and collaborate with peers and stay current with the latest theories in my field. I choose to achieve this through various print and online media including reading, videos plus regularly attending conferences, courses and workshops. The workshops are particularly valuable to me as they add an experiential aspect that adds greater depth to my understanding of working with clients and being able to listen to and empathize with them in a compassionate manner.
To preface the December 2012 podcast, four years ago – in 2010, I was updating my studies to become a Career Counsellor and making the transition from the very corporate role of Events Marketing Manager at a Vancouver tech start-up. At that time, I found a valuable online resource as an adjunct to my study material. I have many online resources at my disposal, but until then, I was not using podcasts as a regular source of self-education. ShrinkRap Radio changed that completely for me. David Van Nuys Ph.D. aka Dr Dave hosts this podcast series and I find him to be articulate, entertaining, engaging and a veritable source of information on a vast range of topics related to the world of psychology.
David interviews a number of prestigious guests from all over the world, and his curiosity and thirst for knowledge are inimitable. In reflection of his global guest list, he has an equally international audience. From the emails he receives, his followers appear to be from all areas of life and all levels of education – his series has a broader appeal than to those in the field of psychology. In my practice, I often “share” his interviews with clients and colleagues via email and the usual social media resources. I also make a monthly contribution to ShrinkRap Radio in recognition of the amazing service and knowledge that David provides to me and other listeners.
The relevance of giving this background to my personal history regarding ShrinkRap Radio is that when I first tuned in to listen to Dr Dave, I did not imagine that it would lead me to be able to attend a workshop in Sydney, Australia. The particular December 2012 podcast that caught my attention was with Bruce Ecker who is the founder of Coherence Therapy that essentially enables clients to overcome their limitations using a specific set of steps and experiential processes based on the science of memory reconsolidation. This is a very brief definition of the technique, but personally I am very excited to learn more about Coherence Therapy and incorporate it into my practice working with clients. I have been fortunate to be able to have already experienced assisting clients realize their potential in past years of practice, but the principles of Coherence Therapy appeal to my passion for the neuroscience behind human behaviour. I have a sense that additional study in this area will help further refine my work with my clients. It blends well with my style of counselling and helping clients move forward.
The workshop itself was an intensive weekend introduction for those new to Coherence Therapy. Niall Geoghegan, Psy. D. is a therapist who works with clients by phone and by Skype as well as in person in his private practice in Berkeley, CA. Niall is also a certified trainer through the Coherence Psychology Institute. We were encouraged to prepare with a number of pre-workshop materials that were organized and sent to us by Simon D’Orsogna and that was a great foundation to work from. Simon is an integrative coach-therapist who has been designing and providing a series of Coherence Therapy peer-learning events in Melbourne and Sydney over the last 18 months. He did an outstanding job of organizing for Niall Geoghegan, Psy. D. to travel from California to facilitate the workshop for 36 participants from across Australia (including me travelling from Canada). Simon’s solid organizational skills maintained the fast paced energy in order to fit in the many elements and concepts of Coherence Therapy. The learning was highly experiential as well, and I was a willing volunteer to participate in the “client” session working with Niall in front of the larger group.
The interactions with other participants were also very rich for me and I come away with a greater sense of community in my chosen work as a counsellor. There was a good balance of working in small groups plus group discussion on a larger scale. Niall, Simon and a dozen others with more advanced Coherence Therapy skills did a great job of supporting our introductory learning experience. Another highlight of the training was a one-hour Skype call with the founder of Coherence Therapy, Bruce Ecker! During the next chapter of my evolution in the helping profession, I am looking forward to being part of the Coherence Therapy Community – especially here in Canada, Australia and the US.