Report on the 2019 21st Annual International ACEP Conference in Santa Ana Pueblo, NM: "The Art and Science of Transformational Change"
My partner in life Lois and I had a wonderful experience at this year's ACEP conference. What made this year's conference special for me personally was that it was a our first anniversary of our relationship together (we both realized we were in love with each other the day before the 2018 Orlando conference). That is a hard one to beat! But there was more that was special about this year's conference.
To start off, it was held on the land of the Santa Ana Pueblo Native People's at a resort hotel on the reservation and owned and operated by the local native peoples. Santa Ana Pueblo is located on the Rio Grande river, and at the foothills of the Monzano Mountains, part of the Rockies. The resort is spectacular, and lives up to the beautiful setting. We wished we'd had more time there to enjoy the amenities.
ACEP turned 21 this year, and this year's celebration carried an air of more self-assured maturity, which included far less anxiety about APA approval for continuing education credits and a sense of greater freedom, acknowledgement and confidence regarding all of the non-EFT/TFT-based modalities. I still find ACEP a little "tapping-obsessed," but i believe once the validity of energy-meridian stimulation as a psychological intervention reaches whatever "critical mass" is needed for general acceptance by professional bodies, that obsession will crest and the organization will join the ascent up from the ground floor of the "Healing Highrise" EFT's founder Gary Craig spoke of so many years ago. I feel like that day is coming soon.
As a participant in the conference, I had the opportunity to sit in on some incredibly good keynotes and learning labs: highlights for me were Dr. David Gruder's The Hero's Journey as a Transformational Roadmap: Keys to Facilitating Freedom
and Dr. Mike Reddy's highly ambitious Healing U.S. Historical Racial Trauma, a Family Energetics Systemic Constellation.
David's learning labs are always wonderfully conceived, layed out, and delivered. He possesses a great deal of wisdom, experience and skill as a presenter. And the subject matter was of deep interest to me (just the previous year I presented a 1-day workshop that showed how the the Hero's Journey, the birth journey, and the physiology of breakthrough were deeply connected and could be applied to energize and transform sessions with clients or self-help).
Mike's session was a giant experiment in witnessing and channeling the groups involved in historical racism in the United States: Upper and working class European descendants, African Americans, Native Peoples (and Native elders were there to witness the process), women, and archetypes "Women Rising" and "Mother Earth." I was one of the participants, and I drew the envelope that had me in the "women" role. It was an extraordinary experience to intensely feel energies, emotions, and thoughts that felt both genuine and yet not my own. Afterward, several women commented to me how on target everything I expressed was. I'm not sure what kind of conclusion/resolution was reached, or what lasting positive impact it had on the participants, witnesses, or the groups or archetypes we were representing, but it was a fascinating experience!
The keynote speakers were excellent. I always enjoy Joan Borysenko, and her talk on resilience was heartfelt, with emphasis on connection to mentors, generosity to others, realism, and finding meaning and purpose in the struggle.
This was my first introduction to Dr. Beverly Rubik, who gave a very enlightening talk on using technology to do research on the biofield and the negative impacts of manmade environmental energies of modern life on health (microwaves, 5G,etc)
My favorite keynote speaker was Bill O'Hanlon, who was one of the people I studied in graduate and post-graduate school on Ericksonian principles in hypnosis and therapy and his own Brief, Possibility-Oriented Therapy. His talk was about Four Energies that can guide you to your life's purpose. The energies emerge as feelings of being BLESSED (what are your talents?), BLISSED (What brings you joy when you do it?), DISSED (Abuse and/or neglect you have suffered and recovered from, empowering you to help others dealing with similar issues), and PISSED (What is wrong in the world that are you passion about rectifying?). He packages things in ways that make his teaching easy to learn and remember!
A professional highlight for me was sharing some advanced concepts of language and awareness to help a volunteer in a demonstration during my learning lab on "Language and Awareness as Tools for Transformation in Energy Psychology."
Through noting and shifting a client's use of language (grammar, syntax, and semantics) and their references to physical space (internal, external, positional, and directional), I discussed how these can be leveraged to set the ground for transformational change.
Of course, I always use and teach BSFF as my EP tool during these presentations, which I believe makes the process progress at a much a faster pace and almost certainly at deeper levels than EP practitioners unfalmiliar with the method are used to. Also, it is not TAPPING, and ACEP has a lot of tappers who think that is REAL energy psychology. But I usually win over a couple to a few converts, along with those who believe I'm "selling a method" (would it be "selling a method" if I had them tap I wonder...).
It is always a challenge to highlight techniques when one is using such a powerful tool if it is unfamiliar, because participants get confused about what to attribute the transformation to! To add to the confusion, I felt an obligation to complete the work with the demonstration volunteer, which meant I was unable to review with the attendees the key points and learning objectives at the end to highlight and review the language and awareness interventions in the demo that were discussed in the lecture. Nevertheless, it was clear to everyone how beneficial the results were for the volunteer, so hopefully seeds were planted for BOTH the skilled use of language and awareness AND of BSFF!
I am excited that the 22nd conference in 2020 will be in Baltimore. We will be there, and I MIGHT get the opportunity to present some exciting things I and also a colleague have been doing with BSFF! Stay tuned...