Have you ever wondered how conferences could be more diverse and exciting? What are the challenges when creating a conference? How can you keep the interactive element with a virtual conference?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks to Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy about their new and fresh type of conference called Therapy Reimagined.
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Meet Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy
Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy are the co-hosts of the Modern Therapists Survival Guide Podcast and the founders of the Therapy Reimagined Conference.
Listen to their podcast here.
In This Podcast
- The idea to reimagine therapy and conferences
- Getting speakers on board
- The format of the first conference
- Tips from the first year to improve the second year
- Monetizing the conference by creating a community
- Making the 2020 conference online
- Therapy Reimagined 2020
The idea to reimagine therapy and conferences
Curt and Katie’s idea for this revolutionary approach to therapy and conferencing began at a conference a few years back, where they noticed a lack of diversity in the speakers and the content of their talks, to the point where it was extremely boring and repetitive. They realized the need for a new type of conference which focused on the impact of therapists themselves on therapy outcomes as well as addressing new, fresh issues in a way that is interesting, interactive, and accurately represents people from more diverse backgrounds.
Getting speakers on board
Curt and Katie wanted an in-person event with audience engagement, so they reached out to a bunch of fellow therapists and consultants who they thought would enjoy this more interactive format and might be willing to speak at the first conference in 2018. They brought in Kelly Higdon and Miranda Palmer to speak about the business side of things, Dr. Ben Caldwell to speak about the state of the profession, and Ernesto Segismundo to talk about social media. They were set with 6 speakers, including Curt and Katie, but needed some more, so they reached out to colleagues from around the US, specifically those who are underrepresented and could bring more fresh and diverse topics to the stage. The prospect of this new and exciting conference generated a large buzz in the therapist’s community which led to a surprisingly great turnout for the first Therapy Reimagined conference.
The format of the first conference
Focusing on making their conference more interesting than most of the others on the circuit, they wanted to ensure that the talks and activities were all experiential and under 90 minutes, which they called “thought bubbles”. This created more time slots for a conference of the standard length, so they were able to bring in more speakers and cover more topics.
Thanks to the buzz created by their call for speakers, they received about 90 applicants, some of whom were eager to go even further than the conference and get involved with the whole movement of reimagining therapy. “It’s just so humbling to see people come together like that and create this community that wants to kind of disrupt private practice.”
Tips from the first year to improve the second year
- They realized that the conference would run much smoother with the right team in place, mainly with an events planner, but also including an official photographer, a stage manager, someone to help with contract negotiation, and someone dedicated to handling the finances.
- Therapy Reimagined 2019 was in a bigger, better venue, had new and exciting speakers, and a handful of returning speakers addressing fresh and interesting topics. Curt and Katie were the MCs and hosted a live podcast with the audience but didn’t have their own presentations, so they stepped back and made space for new speakers and content.
- In the second year, they also put a lot of effort into finding speakers from even more diverse backgrounds. They reached out to those groups who were underrepresented in the applications, such as those that fall under Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) so that they could have more qualified speakers at the conference and create an even more diverse space.
- Most of the content for the first year of the conference was Continuing Education (CE), so they balanced that out with more business courses in the second year to add a bit more flexibility to the presentations.
Monetizing the conference by creating a community
The idea is, let’s really nurture the financial stability and the quality of our profession by putting these kinds of relationships in place and really supporting them in how we set up the conference.
They really want the conference to be accessible and therefore affordable, but still, be able to cover all the costs. They have managed to partner with a bunch of sponsors, including brands and people that Curt and Katie truly value and want to showcase, and have created a wonderfully interwoven community of sponsors, speakers, and attendees.
Making the 2020 conference online
- Fortunately, most of the speakers who were booked to come to Los Angeles for the physical conference are still committed to the conference even though it will be virtual this year.
- One of the challenges involves people not being able to fly in, such as Dr. Darrell Chow, one of the keynote speakers who is in Perth, Australia, whose his presentation has to be scheduled for the middle of the night in Australian Western Standard Time to be an appropriate time in America.
- The organizing team has been working hard at minimizing possible technical issues, for example by pre-recording the content of each presentation just in case there is a connectivity issue. This also allows them to increase the production quality of the conference.
- Working on finding the balance between live and pre-recorded to prevent it from feeling like a bunch of webinars and going against their mission of having a conference that is not boring.
- They are making sure that there will still be a lot of interaction between the speakers and the audience, such as by having Katie and/or Curt host Q&A interviews.
- They now have the added element of more panels as opposed to individual speakers.
- The sponsors are still involved and are contributing to games, commercials, and demos that will still encourage the networking and community that Curt and Katie wanted from the start.
Therapy Reimagined 2020
This year’s conference will be taking place on September 24th, 25th, and 26th. The keynote speakers include:
- Dr. Darrell Chow talking about the frontiers of psychology and feedback-informed treatment
- Dr. Harry Aponte discussing his Person of the Therapist (POTT) Training Model and his work with the late Salvador Minuchin
- Dr. Travis Heath talking about therapy as a political movement
- Kiaundra Jackson discussing branding
- Angela Caldwell challenging some of the traditional ideas in therapy
- Secrets of Storytelling and Public Speaking with LaToya Smith | PoP 484
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
Thanks For Listening!
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This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok. Session number 485.
I loved this episode. Oh my gosh, it’s all the behind-the-scenes of the Therapy Reimagined conference. Curt and Katie, you know, started that a couple years ago, and they talk through it, they talk about why diversity mattered – not mattered, it’s not past tense, why it matters – they talk about all sorts of kind of behind-the-scenes of doing a conference, and maybe you want to start a conference. Literally, I just started doing conferences, you know, in, I want to say it was 2013/14, when Kelly, Miranda, and I put on the Most Awesome Conference. It’s something you can do. You can dream it up. You can build an audience, you can partner with people, there’s so many ways that you can do this. And Curt and Katie talk through how they were just sick of terrible conferences, and what did they do? They started their own. So, without any further ado, here is Curt and Katie.
Well, today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy. They are the co-hosts of the Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide podcast and the founders of the Therapy Reimagined conference. Curt and Katie, welcome to Practice of the Practice podcast.[KATIE]:
Thanks for having us. [JOE]:
Yeah, I love doing podcast swaps because, you know, I was just interviewed on your podcast now you’re here. I feel like I followed you guys from afar and then you said on your podcast you’d been kind of following me from afar. And it’s really kind of fun to finally come together and talk and hear about one another’s doing. [KATIE]:
This is almost like the Avengers assembling. [JOE]:
Yes! I love it. [KATIE]:
Avengers? Alright. [JOE]:
We got to find a nemesis now that, in the second movie, becomes the non-nemesis and we’re the [nemeses]. I love that we’re, like, less than a minute in and talking about Avengers, that’s hilarious. Well, so, let’s just start with Therapy Reimagined. As soon as I saw it when it started a number of years ago, I thought “Yes!” Cuz I’ve put on pretty non-traditional conferences, so, the Most Awesome Conference with Kelly and Miranda we put on a few years ago, I have done Slow Down School and Killin’It Camp, and I feel like your genre of conference fits, like, we’re sisters from another mister, brothers from another mother, like, your approach to conferences is very similar to mine. In a really good way, not in a competitive way, but in a yes, we need conferences like this. [KATIE]:
Tell me about when you first said, “Let’s reimagine conferences”. How did that happen? [CURT]:
I think a big part of this started when we were at, and I’m not even gonna name the conference just because this is part of our principles. [KATIE]:
Protect the innocent. [CURT]:
We were at another conference, and we were looking at all of the speakers, and it was a bunch of old white dudes who were saying the same thing on stage, year after year, at the same conference. [KATIE]:
And it really was like, okay, if this is where therapy has been going, and we’re still doing the same thing over and over, and we’re hearing all of these complaints from therapists about, you know, there’s things that we’re missing in our education that we’re just getting trotted out the same old speaker saying the same old things, Katie and I said, you know, there’s really a space here to address a number of issues in a new type of conference, in a way that represents people who are actually in the fields, a broader array of backgrounds, not just people who’ve been doing the conference circuit for years on end, and talking about what it’s really like to be therapists impacting therapy outcomes, not just treatment models impacting therapy outcomes. [KATIE]:
And honestly, I just was super bored at most conferences that I went to. I get so friggin’ bored. And so, I was talking with Curt, and Curt’s also a little distractible, and so we’re like, “How do we make it more interesting?” and part of that is up to the minute topics, right? Things that are happening now, things that are revolutionary, stuff like that, but also trying to make sure that it’s interactive, that it’s got some sort of practical component. You know, you’re speaking at our conference this year, and it’s really taking some of the business element of the practice and recognizing that that impacts therapists, but it also impacts clients. And so, being able to identify how do we take what therapy actually is, what modern therapists are actually facing, and create content that not only is CE worthy, that’s new and refreshing, but also not boring. [JOE]:
Yeah, so when you were brainstorming the first conference, so what year was the first conference? [CURT]:
2018. So we’re gearing up for our third one this year. [JOE]:
In 2018, what did that brainstorming session look like when you said, “Okay, let’s reimagine conferences. Let’s make it not boring” and all these things that you don’t want it to be, like, I feel like sometimes it’s easy to deconstruct, but then to reconstruct something, you’re making very clear choices as to what it is instead of just what it isn’t. So, what were some of the brainstorms of what you put on paper or however you brainstorm? And how did that process look as you sketched out the first conference? [CURT]:
So, we came up with this idea to do an in-person event and really challenging this idea of we want audience engagement. And we reached out to a couple of our friends; Kelly and Miranda, as you mentioned, Dr. Ben Caldwell, and Ernesto Segismundo. And we’re like, we want to pool our ideas together, we want you to come and present, but we want you to engage the audience, so that way, they’re actually doing something and not just having us speak at them all day long. And so, they all committed and we’re like, alright, we’ve got the six of us here. We need more people if this is actually going to be a conference. So, we started reaching out to some colleagues from all across country and we’re like, alright, so we’ve got, you know, some of the business stuff with Kelly and Miranda, Ernesto talking social media stuff, and Ben talking about, you know, the state of the profession, and we were like, well, you know, there’s some other areas that we can add in around, you know, some underrepresented areas of, you know, clinician backgrounds that we want to address, people who haven’t really had the chance to step up on stage before. And the more that we started talking with people, the more of a buzz that we started generating, and we had a really surprising turnout for something that, as Katie was talking about, the entire time that we were putting this together, it felt like we were trying to drink water out of a firehose, just trying to do so many things all at once. But it started to catch on and it started to really generate this buzz across the therapist community of, here’s something new and fresh that a lot of people really took a chance on, coming out to LA and seeing us and just left in this very, very excited, almost frenetic stage after a couple of days of hanging out with us. [KATIE]:
And I think the big thing that I want to focus on is that we started with kind of this little, tiny idea around, “Let’s make a more interesting conference”, and so, part of that was they needed to be short form or experiential, and nothing else. So, I don’t think we had anything that was longer than 90 minutes, and with that, it was like popcorn talks, like, we called them ‘thought bubbles’. And so, we had an opportunity to bring a lot of people in. I think the other element was, it evolved because we had one idea, we talked to a few of our colleagues, and then we were sitting in this super boring conference with a whole bunch of old white guys and we’re getting feedback from people who are hearing about our podcast and those kinds of things. And they’re saying, “There’s no diversity here. There’s nothing that’s new here.” And so, that really actually impacted our call for speakers, that we were able to talk about we want more diversity on our stage, we want more conversations about things that are current. And so, we actually designed the call for speakers to put it out that way. And I think we got… we were this unknown little conference, but, you know, you do the Facebook groups and you do the other things where you, you know, friends of friends and that kind of stuff. We talked to some of our folks that had larger audiences and said, “Hey, you know, can you share this?” We got like 90 applicants for our first call for speakers, it was crazy. I was like, “Oh, my goodness, how are we gonna do this?” And even once we had hired some of the speakers and we talked to them, there were some people that wanted to get involved. And so it was like, oh my gosh, like, not only are you willing to fly out here to California and speak, you’re actually willing to be part of the therapy movement, like, oh my gosh, like, it was something where it just felt like it was so organic, to start connecting with likeminded individuals, because we had, out of nowhere, just decided, well, let’s do a conference. It was weird. [JOE]:
Isn’t it humbling when you put on a conference and you have people that say, “I want to give more time, even though I’m either paying to be here.” I know with Killin’It Camp, when we hosted the first one in 2019, I think we had 45 people that said that they’d volunteer and do a five-hour shift to just keep everything going. We had more volunteers than we had work, and it was like, we don’t need you, glad you’re here. But, like, we got set up in, like, 90 minutes, you know, the entire conference, like, everything. And so, there was all these people and to think, holy cow, this is an event that, you know, I had this idea for, Christina and I put on, and then people say, “I want to give more” and then even after that, you have people saying “I want to be on a planning crew for next year”. Holy cow. It’s just so humbling to see people come together like that, create this community that wants to kind of disrupt private practice. [KATIE]:
Yeah, just when you find an audience and a group of people that’s so resonant, it just seems to flow and it’s so rewarding when that happens. [JOE]:
So, I know that, like, your first year, sometimes it’s kind of tough, you know, you’re doing a new conference and doing all of that, like, what did you learn from that first year that helped you adjust to year two? [KATIE]:
We needed an event planner. [CURT]:
We wanted to do all the things. And Curt mentioned that I kept saying it’s like drinking from a firehose, like, it felt like that for a lot of the time. And so, really having the right team in place made sense. Putting on events can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re using a hotel and there’s also the speakers to pay. I mean, there’s just so many different things that go into it. And so, each expense, I felt like we were analyzing very closely. In the first year, we didn’t have a war chest, we didn’t have a track record. And so, I’m like, “Well, I, you know, I did stage management in, you know, after I graduated from college for a little while, I’m a theater major, like, I could do this.” And we had somebody pop in and help us with, you know, like contract negotiation, but like, actually running the event, we were running around like chickens without heads, you know, trying to get everything done. Like, at one point, I was actually holding the camera because we had not gotten an official photographer, like, it was truly, we were doing everything in 2018. And so, in planning for last year, we definitely had an event planner from start to finish. We got a photographer, we had more people there to help us, we kind of designed the volunteer level so people could help us with different things at different times. But it was definitely something where trying to do something that big by yourself? Yeah, you can’t do it. [JOE]:
Oh, man. I feel like there’s so much that I just, like, yes! I get it. Last year at Killin’It Camp, our videographers… It was such a show. So, half an hour before they were supposed to be there, they just no showed. [KATIE]:
Oh no. [JOE]:
And then we got an email saying that they had been in a car accident, which we found out later was a lie, and they stole the money and never showed up. We had to, like, go to our credit card company, luckily we had paid through a credit card and not a check or something, and so we were able to cover the money after like six months of showing that, you know, we had attempted over and over and over to, like, get the money back and it just was like… but this is part of running a conference, you know, you do that stuff and you do your best and things happen. And I was just super open with the crowd. I said, “You know, I wanted to video this whole thing for you, but like, it’s not gonna happen.” You know, I told him about the car accident and the next day I told them that it was a fake car accident. [KATIE]:
Oh no. [JOE]:
So, year two, you get some momentum. I’d love to hear more about how you, then, for year two, helped building that diversity and building kind of new thoughts, because I think it can be easy, even if you know you’re one, we have kind of, like, this DNA of the conference. And then year two, even if it’s a similar DNA, there can still be, kind of, like, all the old speakers that want to come back. How did you keep it fresh while also kind of retaining the DNA of year one? [CURT]:
So, possibly the biggest compliment that we received, on day one of the second year of the conference, came from the AV crew. And that was the same crew that we had from the year before, we had gotten to a new hotel, the event planner that we had had had negotiated a much bigger, nicer space for us. The AV crew came up to me and said, “You guys really grew up into a conference this year.” And it was the feel of the conference, it was the speakers, and constantly being, you know, looking at all of the different aspects of it and really wanting to address new and fresh things. We told our returning speakers, “Hey, you got to talk about something else. Come up with something new, have a new idea, research something new, but do not talk about the same thing.” And we also really limited the number of returning speakers that we had from year one to year two. And that included neither Katie nor I actually speaking in any of the conference events. We emceed and we did a live podcast with the audience one night, but we didn’t actually do a CE presentation. And I think, having even that ability for us to look at, not only the time investment, but also the schedule investment of, we are so committed to keeping new content coming and good content coming, that we’re willing to even step back, recognizing that, hey, we don’t have it for us this year to produce something new and refreshing that’s helpful to our audience, and being able to trust other people to step in and do that. We also made a really concerted effort to broaden the diversity of our speakers. And in particular, one area that we ran into is we got, you know, a ton of applicants but we noticed that we didn’t have anybody coming from an AAPI background, Asian American Pacific Islander background. And when we started noticing that, hey, we’re all about representation, but we’re still not getting it, when we noticed this lack of representation at these other conferences, we started making a really concerted effort to reaching out to some of these underrepresented groups to make sure that we had really qualified speakers to end up on our stage and sharing that enthusiasm along with us. [KATIE]:
And to add on to that a little bit when we were looking at the speakers from 2018 to return, like Curt said, we made sure that they had something different. But having a speaker be present, having a 15-minute talk, or a 60-minute talk, or a 90-minute talk, you can see how they operate, how they resonate with your audience, how they’re able to present, and also, because a lot of the stuff that we’re doing is CE, you get evaluations and that kind of stuff, and so when we found somebody that really was just a firecracker, a superstar, we would approach them to potentially come back for a larger role in the following year. But we also, for the most part, and I think this is where it becomes kind of an awkward conversation, but, for the most part, we asked our speakers to apply to speak at the following year, and we did that from last year to this year, if they wanted to speak again and letting them know it needs to be a different talk, it needs to have a different feel to it, like, we want it to be in your wheelhouse. From last year to this year, we went to having more straight-ahead business courses so that we would have some flexibility there, versus making everything, you know, kind of have to fit into a CE model. But it was something where we actually were like, we want to make sure – and we had a panel of people to review the speaker applications – that people were showing up and providing something that our speaker panel actually thought was valuable to bring back onto the stage. And so, yeah, people wanted to come back and there are people that we had back and people we asked back that we thought had something new enough or fresh enough to provide. But we also have really tried to even the playing fields at each stage so that we’re really looking at the quality of content, the speaker’s abilities or their potential, and really trying to start from… not ground zero, we want to have some big name speakers and people that will be central each year, but for filling out the rest of the conference schedule, we want everyone to have a chance each year and so the more people that you invite back every time, the fewer new speakers that you can have. And so, we’ve really tried to push away from that. [JOE]:
I love that. Now, I know different conference planners were kind of a different mindset in regard to monetization. Some will just say, we want to put on a great conference, like, the tickets, like, that’s the main way we monetize, maybe with some sponsors or things like that. Other conference planners will say, I’m going to use this as an upsell into consulting or, you know, some special deal there, or things like that. How have you kind of thought about the money side of running a conference, to kind of make it worth your time and your energy? Because you know, you could just go to therapy, you could just go do other things? Or do you see it just as, this is helping disrupt the field in a positive way, and your money is part of it, but it’s not the primary thing, like, walk us through kind of how you thought through money as part of the conference? [KATIE]:
Well, we want to make the conference accessible, but we also want to make sure that we have a ticket price that will cover the costs, so we do priced tickets and sell tickets to monetize. We also really like to partner with brands and folks who we really value and that we want to share audience with, and so part of the monetization is sponsorship, that’s why I do the sponsorship stuff. So I will speak a little bit to that, but what we’ve found is, in bringing together this group of folks, of therapists, who have been potentially not listened to, or pushed to the side for a lot of the training and potentially even the marketing, there’s a lot of times when even coaching and consulting can be very focused on, kind of, cis het white, you know, kind of situations. And so, I think it’s something where bringing together this audience, and starting to create a dialogue between sponsors and speakers and attendees, and creating a community that’s very interwoven, I think has been very beneficial. And so, it’s not necessarily quote unquote “about the money”, but it also is something that’s been very lucrative for, you know, the conference, as well as for the people who’ve been involved. We’ve had people who have attended who get great deals on a lot of the things that our sponsors are putting out. We have sponsors that have reported that they have the strongest conversations and they get the most business they’ve gotten at any conference, especially conferences that are much larger. And so, it’s something where it’s kind of creating these symbiotic relationships, that kind of putting together kind of organic networking between people that need to be talking to each other. And we’ve also seen people that have, you know, kind of joined forces, as far as, you know, kind of, complimentary services or people who’ve brought together, you know, kind of referral arrangements. And so, the idea is, let’s really nurture the financial stability and the quality of our profession by putting these kinds of relationships in place and really supporting them in how we set up the conference. I could go into the weeds here, so I don’t know if there’s a more specific question on how we do that, but we definitely maximize interaction for everyone so that there is, even before or after the conference, that people are talking to each other. There’s visibility that’s being gained for folks who are speaking, sponsoring, or both, and kind of making sure that people feel like they’re getting a high return on investment. And so, people come back year over year, you know, we’ll raise sponsorship prices and stuff. [JOE]:
Yeah. And I think that’s important with your sponsors to really, you know, make sure that you try to get them a good ROI for sponsor. [KATIE]:
Like at Killin’It Camp, I remember talking to Perry from Brighter Vision, and we did this thing called a Website Lab where, instead of just having a table, they were doing free consults on websites, whether or not you were a Brighter Vision customer. And so, that helped them convert a bunch of people, because you get to actually see the skill set of the team. [KATIE]:
And when you have a conference that’s a little bit smaller, that’s not, you know, a gigantic 5000-person conference … [KATIE]:
… you can work with those sponsors to say, let’s figure out how we best help the participants feel like you’re a part of the conference and not just some table that you’re forced to go talk to. [KATIE]:
Yes, absolutely. [CURT]:
And we really had that in our relationship with Simple Practice who took a really big chance on us from the very beginning, and we really value a lot of the ideas and the inputs they have, because they are a little bit of one of those outside-of-the-box companies in the way that they’ve developed things. And having some of those experienced people even help us conceptualize what we can do to grow our conference and be able to reach out to people in new ways, because even from their experience at other conferences, they’ve had the table that’s just sitting there, but to get their input in, here’s things that, you know, they touch thousands of therapists each and every day with their products, and they get a lot of feedback, too, about where the state of the profession is. And so, this isn’t just, you know, Katie and me being like, “Well, here’s what we think people need to know.” This is also having people who are interacting with therapists from all over the worlds seeing where the growth stages of the business end of our practices really come from, too. [JOE]:
Oh, man, that’s awesome. Now let’s talk about 2020. Let’s talk about it as a year and how much it sucks. Just kidding. So, I’m sure you’ve gone online. Killin’It Camp, we’ve gone online. So, how did you make that decision? I know that you guys are doing a ton to make this really as much of a virtual conference as possible. Like, how did you make that pivot for 2020? Like, what are kind of features of the conference that kind of make it reimagined? And how hard has it been? [CURT]:
So, we’re in our third time of planning this year’s conference. We initially started out… [JOE]:
So, you could say this is the fifth Therapy Reimagined conference. [KATIE]:
Yeah, because we had 100% live and we had a hybrid and then we’re now 100% virtual. So, you know, three versions we have (inaudible). [CURT]:
So we were really fortunate that almost all of our speakers that we had planned to come out to Los Angeles for the live version of the conference, stay committed with us to being able to do something virtually, and this has created some of its own challenges because one of our keynote speakers, Dr. Darrell Chow is based in Perth, Australia, so getting him on American time is the middle of the night time for when his presentation is scheduled to be. So, we’re really taking a lot of creative ways of being able to present really good conference material, and part of that deals with how do we minimize tech issues? You know, internet connections can go out at any time. And so, we’re working with some of our speakers and being able to be present during their presentation, but also having recorded versions of their content so, that way, we can up the production quality a little bit more. We don’t want people feeling like they’re just sitting in webinar after webinar. [KATIE]:
Yeah, we don’t want to create a boring conference. Like, that is absolutely against our mission. [CURT]:
And so we’re really making sure that you know, there’s a lot of interaction with the speakers still and even if that means, you know, having Katie or me pop in and do a little bit of an interview, Q&A structure to it, because I know when I was teaching in my summer classes at Pepperdine University, that my poor students hearing me lecture for an hour at a time, just kind of, you know, it’s feeling like a webinar. So, I didn’t want to create that same kind of feeling for the people attending our conference, and so we’re really challenging our speakers to still keep that engagement with the audience. And so far, all of our speakers have been really phenomenal about making that pivot along with us. [KATIE]:
And we had more I think, single speakers when we started out and so we’ve added a couple of panels so that we have more interaction, and we were able to add some new people, which also has its own challenges, because there’s all the negotiation that happens when you’re hiring more folks. But it was something where adding energy to a talk because, you know, staring at a screen or speaking to a screen can be hard for the speaker as well, and so, just trying to find a way that we can make the content really good has been important. But we’ve also talked with our sponsors and we’ve kept all of our sponsors as well, which has been really wonderful, and talking about how we make this experience as much like the live Therapy Reimagined as we could. And so, talking about games and different ways of interaction and commercials and demos and kind of finding ways that we can continue to do the thing that has been kind of a signature for us, which is bringing these folks together and so, special networking rooms and you know, kind of all this stuff that will allow for these kind of virtual conversations to be as similar as the in-person conference as possible. It’s been exciting because it requires so much creativity, but it also means that like our timeline is now truncated and you know, there’s still a lot to learn and so it’s like, okay, I thought it was supposed to be easier on year three. Why did we have to do a whole new conference? [JOE]:
Oh, seriously. Yeah. And even for us, you know, with Killin’It Camp, figuring out like, were our sponsors still in? Because they had signed up for one thing, and then, you know, we’re very thankful that they are, and then making sure our speakers are still in, because if we don’t have speakers, and then you know, kind of saying, okay, here’s what we’re doing. And if you want a refund, because this isn’t what you signed up for, then we do it this way. And just, you know, you have to readjust and try to offer the best product and the best value for people while still realizing it’s a lot of time to put something like this on. Well, tell us. Let me do the last question we usually do, and then we’ll have you talk more about the conference and how people can sign up. But the last question I always ask, and I’ll have each of you answer it, if every private practitioner in the world we’re listening right now, what would you want them to know? Why don’t we start with Katie? [KATIE]:
I’m on the hot seat. I think the biggest thing that I would want every private practitioner to know is that you’re not alone. I think, especially during this time, when many folks, I know not all folks have done it, but many folks have shifted to an online practice. Potentially adding their telehealth or starting telehealth fresh, there’s oftentimes, you know, because of efficiency and timing, people aren’t necessarily connected with their community as well, especially if you can’t just walk down the hall and see your suitemates or you’re not having networking events. I want people to know that there is community and connection that’s available, and it’s inclusive. And it’s something where we were able to share ideas that maybe are a little bit out of the ordinary, like, I think that sometimes when therapists get together, there can be competition or there can be judgment or “that’s unethical” or, you know, any of those things. But I think being able to come together in community with folks who can challenge you, but also are very supportive and allow you to be creative, I think can be just completely refreshing. So, knowing that there are communities out there and, you know, the modern therapists, you know, isn’t necessarily your community, but there are so many ways to connect, especially with kind of the virtual access, social media, the virtual conference, you know, those types of things, that we can come together and really support each other and feel less alone. [CURT]:
And I’ll add in that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to anything about our profession, and I think one of the big challenges that we really tried to tackle with a lot of our therapy movement is that we can embrace, you know, not only our brands that bring in our clients to us, but also the techniques that we use, the way that we do therapy, as long as it’s good clinical therapy, there’s a lot of freedoms for us to be able to practice in ways that truly reflect ourselves even beyond the marketing approaches that we take or the website designs that we make, but really utilizing yourself as an agent of change in therapy is something that takes care of both the clients and you as the therapist. And a lot of times, we forget to take care of ourselves in a way that benefits us and benefits the profession and benefits our practice, that there is a home for you and a lot of support that developed around that in our communities and in Joe’s community here, that it doesn’t have to be a solo adventure and that you can find that support and you’ve got that support. [JOE]:
That’s so awesome. Well, so walk us through, for the event, how many speakers do you have? What are the dates of it? How can people sign up and get tickets? [CURT]:
So, our conference is September 24th, 25th, and 26th. We have a couple of really exciting keynote speakers. Dr. Darrell Chow is talking about the frontiers of psychology. He’s big in the feedback informed treatment world, about taking information back from your clients and being able to tweak your practice and your approach to get better results. Our other keynote speaker is Dr. Harry Aponte. He developed the Person of the Therapist model, and out of his long and storied career, going back to his work even with Salvador Minuchin and really becoming involved in the therapy process as a human rather than just a person who guides a series of interventions. We have Dr. Travis Heath talking about therapies as a political movement, Kiaundra Jackson doing branding, and Angela Caldwell is going to be challenging us and some of the therapists’ zeitgeist sort of ideas. So, we have some really great frontline plenary and keynote speakers. [KATIE]:
And people will have access to the live presentations, and those will have a lot of interaction. We’ll also be recording all the sessions, assuming that the technology works, and so, I think we counted in somewhere between 20 to 22 CEs that you can get as well as, like, your talk is a business talk and not CE, but there’s a lot of really strong business topics like podcasting as an alternate revenue stream. We’ve got folks talking about websites, about asking for testimonials and kind of decreasing mental health stigma, Melissa Hall is doing that. And Katie Reed is going to be talking about moving from a clinician to a coach practice and that kind of stuff. So, there’s topics that kind of go from Business and Technology all the way through to, you know, kind of, clinical work that’s not necessarily talked about with special populations, things that are a little more cutting edge and innovative. And also, kind of, how you can be the best therapist and business owner you can be. And to sign up, you can go to therapyreimaginedconference.com, we have all the information there on CE, on pricing, the pricing goes up on September 15th, it’s when we have our kind of last minute pricing and so, usually it goes up $50 to $75, each price increase, so take a look at that, make sure that you’re taking advantage of the best possible price. And then, the other thing and, depending on exactly when this airs, we do have a couple of sponsorships that are for therapist business owners where you can get some visibility at the conference, or some podcast sponsorship for ours, and so, you can look at like, what’s the best way to attend, because we want to provide a lot of options for people to show up and get seen and to connect with the community. [JOE]:
Oh, that’s so awesome. Well, Curt and Katie, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast. [KATIE]:
Thanks for having us. [CURT]:
Thank you. [JOE]:
Well, I don’t know about you, but that was such an awesome interview. Make sure you go grab your tickets today. All those notes will be in the show notes, and all of those links, and do your best to be a part of these types of communities because we need to surround ourselves with people that think differently than ourselves, people that are bringing new ideas, so that we can all be modern therapists. As well, we want to thank our podcast sponsor, TherapyNotes. TherapyNotes is the best electronic health records out there. Use promo code JOE to get three months for free. Thanks so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an awesome week.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music; we really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.