Susan Johnson stole the show with her plenary presentation at the AAMFT Annual Conference in Sacramento today. Presenting without Powerpoint slides was itself refreshing, but she said several things in a far more eloquent manner than anyone else has this weekend. I’m paraphrasing, but here were a couple of my favorites:
- Therapy needs higher goals than simply reducing conflict. We get better every day at actually creating new love and bonding.
- Emotions have an exquisite logic to them that is not to be ignored or dismissed. For EFT or any other kind of therapy, clients should not expect that they need to leave their intellect at the door.
- Connection with a partner soothes the brain. MRI studies show that an expectancy of shock is mediated when in physical contact with a partner.
- When it comes to sex, research is clear: Practice *and* emotional connection make perfect.
The workshops I attended today were good informationally, but neither was put on by especially dynamic presenters. I learned about marital satisfaction instruments and online education, both of which are eminently practical — one of the things I like most about the conference.
The evening presentation by Dorothy Becvar was a nice review of the history of the field in terms of its concepts and contributions to mental health. A good (and brief) final plenary to a very good conference. I’ve heard that the other workshops were greatly varied this year in terms of quality, but that those that were good were incredibly good. The conference concludes tomorrow with a set of 3-hour workshops, including one I’ll be moderating on the licensing exam development process. More tomorrow.