By the fall of 1982 I had just enough therapy and supervision to be profoundly aware of a deep need to connect with peers with the long view in mind. Back then, I was was just beginning full time private practice with several dear colleagues. At that time, one of the glaring holes in my ongoing professional development was regular participation with a professional organization. Encouraged by my mentors and therapists I went to my first AAP Institute and Conference.
Other than my wedding and the birth of my children I had never been so nervous to show up to anything. Within the first day of being at the conference, the term “showing up” took on a whole new meaning. It meant being authentic in the moment, with all the thoughts and feelings I could muster. I had never been at a conference like this! I was challenged, stimulated, and provoked to think about what I meant and felt.
The natural extension of this (or as I think about it), a place to safely practice, was a peer group. Opening night I was aware of my friend/ colleagues group, so I decided to drop by. What an eye opening experience. I was hooked.