Being human together. Showing up for what matters.

Mental Health Parenting

I Want to Change the World. What about you? Can we do it together?

Me with Giving West CEO, Kevin MacDonald. A very special moment. Shame about the bad hair day ;-)
Me with Giving West CEO, Kevin MacDonald. A very special moment. Shame about the bad hair day 😉

I’m reflecting on the amazing five weeks I’ve just had traveling abroad with my family, an opportunity which was made possible by a generous scholarship I was awarded by the Perth Convention Bureau and Giving West.  I had an incredible trip of planning research, attending workshops, networking, and a brilliant conference interspersed with gelato, volcanoes, ancient monuments and Disneyland.  I’ve got pretty much nothing to complain about right now.

The trip was absolutely jam-packed full of blog-fodder, and I have written to you all a thousand times in my head.  Various themes will probably make their way through in my coming posts.  But as the dust begins to settle, here are the things I’m sitting with:

  • I still want to change the world.  I care about reducing suffering, and not just in a 1-by-1 approach as people’s suffering becomes so great that they seek support in my therapy room.  I want to use what we know from decades of research in contextual behavioural science to support change in families, schools, communities, corporations.  I want to help create and sustain environments that are nurturing, where people may experience pain (can’t get through life without it), but will not need to experience suffering.
  • I can do a lot, but I can’t achieve all that alone.
  • Thankfully I’m already not doing it all alone.
  • You’re already doing your part, and what if we do MORE, TOGETHER?
Some of the Australian and New Zealand Conference delegates
Some of the Australian and New Zealand Conference delegates

I used my scholarship to attend the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) World Conference in Berlin – a phenomenal opportunity to learn from, and break bread with, world-class prominent researchers and clinicians who share this common purpose and vision.  One of the things I love about the ACBS Community is that these people, on the whole, WALK the WALK as much as they TALK the TALK, and that’s a pretty special thing.  It builds a sense of community akin to a family, a tribe, and it’s a lovely place to belong.

If you’re not a part of it already, I want to invite you into that space with me.  It’s the main reason I write this blog.

And we can do more – if you’re willing.

I am so excited, because some of my favourite trainers are headed to Perth.  Their workshops, presented around the world, are accessible not just to psychologists, social workers and other mental health geeks – they are targeted far wider, for TEACHERS, NURSES, SPEECH THERAPISTS, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS; and other ALLIED HEALTH.  This is so incredibly important.  If we are really serious about changing the world, we cannot make psychologists and psychiatrists the gatekeepers of this information.  There’s not enough of us, and we’re too darned expensive.  We need this main-lined and these trainers are making that a reality.

So I am inviting you to some upcoming workshops, and you can pick and choose what might be most relevant to you 😉  Or perhaps none of these are suitable for you right now, but maybe it might be of interest to your children’s teachers, therapists, or other people in your network.  Many of you have been traveling along reading my blog for a while now, and I really appreciate your feedback on the topics I write about.  If there is stuff that is meaningful to you in the way I write about topics, you will love the chance to go deeper through these incredible upcoming workshops.

PS – these guys do not fund me in any way to promote their gigs.  I’m just a little bit excited that people I respect so highly are bringing their stuff to the West.

Dr Louise Hayes, ACT for Children (and their Parents), Sept 21-22

Louise is the current president of the Australian/New Zealand ACBS chapter, co-author of the best-selling book, Get Out of Your Mind and Into your Life for Teenagers: A Guide to Living an Extraordinary Life, and the forthcoming book for teachers, therapists and counsellors on ACT for young people, The Thriving Adolescent. Louise uses ACT with young people in schools and clinical settings. She is a clinical psychologist, peer-reviewed ACT trainer, an academic, author and speaker.

All workshops should be conducted against this backdrop!  Bressanone, Italy
All workshops should be conducted against this backdrop! Bressanone, Italy

Louise was presenting one of her workshops in Bressanone, Italy, whilst I was there. During the tea/lunch breaks I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the reflections of the students on their experience of Louise’s workshop, the skills they were learning, her awesome presentation style, and just how much of a wholly beautiful, compassionate human being she is. Being the only other Australian there, people may have thought me kinder and smarter just by association;-) The glowing feedback continued as she presented throughout the ACBS world conference the following month.

The workshop will present a new developmental model developed by Louise and Joseph Ciarrochi for applying Acceptance & Commitment Therapy in work with children (and their parents). From her website: “ACT’s approach to families can help them learn to manage their emotions using acceptance and mindfulness, as well as try new behaviour connected to values. It is perfect for helping parents and their children.”  No prior experience in ACT required – it is a great introduction, and suitable for all allied health professionals and teachers.

Dr Russ Harris, ACT Two-day Introductory Workshop, Sept 10-11; and ACT Two-day Advanced Workshop, Oct 22-23

Best selling author of The Happiness Trap (and a long list of others), prominent peer-reviewed ACT trainer Russ Harris faithfully makes the trip out West generally once or twice a year (he even lived here for a while).  He’s responsible for the initial training of just about every ACT-therapist Australia has 😉  Once a stand-up comedian (and a GP), Russ has an entertaining, warm, and jargon-free, accessible presentation style.  Russ provided my initial introduction to ACT and the wider ACBS community, and it’s not over stating it to say the experience was life-changing.

Dr Eric Morris, ACT for Psychosis: Recovery through Psychological Flexibility, Sept 14

Okay, so this one is advertised as an advanced-level course, but if you are a psychologist/social-worker/psychiatrist/mental health nurse working in this field – or if you know someone who is – this workshop will be incredible.  Eric is a member of the ANZ ACBS Board, and is a warm and charismatic presenter, researcher, clinician, academic, DJ (in his spare time), and co-editor of a new textbook, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness for Psychosis.  Although now working in Melbourne, after a decade in the UK, he is originally home-grown here in WA and is a fellow Murdoch alumnus.  Click here for more details on the workshop and Eric’s long, interesting, and relevant bio.  I’m thrilled he’s bringing his work back home 🙂

PS: Thanks to Stoick, Toothless, Hiccup, and my beautiful Mum and Dad, for sharing the journey, and being the most awesome support crew on the road. Love you guys xxx

I am so grateful to Perth Convention Bureau and Giving West for enabling me to travel abroad to experience rich, diverse, inspiring professional development – and I’m grateful to the incredible presenters above that you don’t have to travel, since they’re bringing it all to us 🙂

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