Wondering if you should go to the ACA conference?

conference badgeIt’s been a historic winter here in Boston.  We’ve had two Top 10 snow storms in the last ten days.  There is 5 feet of snow on the ground and no chance of anything melting within the next two weeks.  Something that’s helping me get through it is reminding myself that next month I’ll be at the ACA conference in Orlando and by the time I get back it should be Spring in Boston.

Something I’ve been hearing from a lot of therapists is “Why go to the conference?”  People are wondering what the big deal is and wondering if perhaps they should go. Because there are so many people asking and so little info on the internet, I figured I might as well write a post for those wondering what the big deal is and if they should go.

So here’s the main thing you need to keep in mind:  All therapists need to get continuing education (commonly known are CEs or CEUs) in order to renew their license.  It varies State to State and license to license, but for LMHCs like me, we need 30 CEs.  Now, you can get these CEs pretty easily online but most States require that a large percentage on your CEs be “face to face” or “in person”.  For instance, in Massachusetts it needs to be more than half of your CEs, and I think that this is pretty common for most other States too.  This is the main draw of the conference and really the big reason why everyone goes, it allows you to get all of your face-to-face CEs in three days.

You may be thinking “But wait, I can also get face-to-face CEs by going to the seminars that are offered in my area.”  That’s true, but I find that those are less convenient than the conference.  I’d rather just take a week off of work once than repeatedly scheduling these seminars and working my schedule around them.  Also, all of the best speakers go to the conference.  You can really see some living legends at the conference.  It’s an opportunity to learn from the best of the best, speakers who may not ever visit your city, or if they do, will be asking for a much higher price than the conference.  These aren’t just CEs, they’re really high quality CEs.

Another draw is the social aspect.  You will be in a conference center with thousands of other therapists.  This can be such an isolating profession and it’s usually really difficult to get us therapists out of our offices.  It’s just a great opportunity to mingle and meet like-minded people.  I’m an introvert and this is still one of the best parts for me!  I love talking with other therapists.  I learn as much from my fellow attendees as I do from the speakers.  So, if you go, make sure to bring some business cards!  You never know who you might meet!

Finally, it’s a great excuse to go on vacation and explore a new city.  The core conference days are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but I take the whole week off.  The last time I was in Orlando I was 8 years old, so yeah I plan on going to Disney World and Universal Studios.  These conferences are often in really cool places.  Last year it was in Hawaii.  The following years it’ll be Montreal, Nashville, and New Orleans.  These are all cities I’m looking forward to exploring for a few days.  And just in case you were wondering if it was going to be boring during the conference days itself, it wont be.  The conference has a real carnival atmosphere.  The CE classes end by 5pm and then there are mixers and parties in the evening.

The conference is next month and it’s not too late to buy tickets.  If you can’t make it this year, that’s okay too.  I’ll be sure to write up a review when I get back.  If any of my readers are going to the conference, yes, now’s your chance to meet me in person!  I’d love to meet up with you guys or attend a couples counseling seminar together!

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My name is Marina Williams and I am a licensed mental health counselor with a private practice in Jamaica Plain, MA. This website is my professional website devoted to my activities as a therapist. If you are interested in finding out more about my private practice, please visit my other website JPcounseling.com


Do you want to make an appointment for counseling or supervision? Interested in having me speak at your event? Have any questions or concerns? Feel free to contact me at 774-240-5550 or info@jpcounseling.com