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Annual Conference 2012
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Top 10 Reasons to Attend

By Karen Langer, LMHC, Chair
Conference Planning Committee, 
and AMHCA President-Elect, 2011–2012

Here is my top 10 list for going to Orlando for AMHCA’s 2012 Annual Conference. What’s yours?

10. Orlando and Florida

They are beautiful! And they both offer so much to see and to explore. Take a few extra days to explore Florida—take in a sporting event, embrace your inner child at the theme parks, visit Cape Canaveral, the Everglades, or the Florida Keys.

9. Exhibitors

We have a record number of exhibitors this year. Please be sure to make some time to talk with them.  


8. Connections

The Annual Conference is a great place to expand your connections. You have a built-in resource group onsite, so reunite with old friends and make new ones. 


7. Pre-Conference Workshops and Poster Sessions on Thursday

Go in-depth Thursday afternoon by attending one of two Pre-Conference Workshops being offered this year—one on suicide prevention and the other on “reel to real” therapy. Cap off the day by checking out the dozen thought-provoking Poster Sessions from 6–7 p.m. Thursday evening.


6. Opportunity to meet the leaders in your field

Stay current and find out firsthand what is going on in your profession and what is on the horizon by meeting the leaders in your field in sessions, during breaks, or in the Networking Lounge. 


5. Professional identity

Affirm your professional identity and have a direct impact on your profession. The conference is a place to engage with other mental health counselors. How satisfying and enriching it is to be among peers, because we understand each other and the meaning of our work. 


4. Many choices, one cost-effective fee

Whether you choose a day-long program, a track of related sessions, or a mix and match of topics, you can easily organize your conference schedule to meet your professional development needs all in one place. 

This year’s conference sessions are divided into nine main areas: assessment, clinical approaches, children & adolescents, creative therapies, current trends, education & supervision, ethics, multicultural, and self-care.


3. Hot topics, and outstanding presenters

In addition to our dynamic keynote speaker, Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, and Saturday’s panel of experts, who will address the mental health needs of our veterans and their family members, we have a full array of presenters who will share their expertise on a wide range of topics, all relevant to the practice of mental health counseling.  


2. Time for renewal, learning, and energizing

You will be able to take what you learn and immediately apply it to your client work. Attending AMHCA’s Annual Conference gives us all an opportunity to celebrate the work we do. In community with each other we are reminded of the value in our work—and that we are not alone.


1. Networking

Is “networking” a cliché term or a real need? Why do we put so much emphasis on this topic at the AMHCA Annual Conference? Our conference theme—“Counseling in the Modern Era: Challenges & Opportunities in a Changing World,” our keynote address on “The Power of Vulnerability,” our Pre-Conference Workshops, and many of the program presentations remind us of the need to connect to others, and specifically to connect to others in our field.

Have you thought about where you get your support for the work you do? Where you do not have to explain that you do more than just listen? With people who understand that it is hard to quantify change when it isn’t something tangible? With whom do you ponder questions and discuss topics that come up in your work with clients or in running your practice? Where do you go to find out what your peers are doing? How do you recharge? 

Could “AMHCA’s Annual Conference” be the answer to all of these questions?

This year we are continuing to offer our Networking Lounges. We have designated topics or groups but not presenters. Instead, we will have hosts for each of the topics. In some instances, the host might be representatives from AMHCA’s Professional Development 
Committee who will be available to answer questions you might have about committee work, the new Professional Standards document, or ideas for future work. 

Another of the Networking Lounge topics is on Social Media and Counseling. This topic was requested by AMHCA members who have had questions and would like to talk with others who have had similar questions or dilemmas. We also have a session dedicated to first-time conference attendees who want to connect with regulars, as well as a session for those who want to get more involved in AMHCA as potential leaders. The Networking Lounge is a place to talk, discuss, or question. Take some time to check out the topics and stop by to connect! 

In addition to the Network Lounges, take advantage of other opportunities to connect to colleagues such as the Bulletin Board—why not meet up for lunch or dinner with other professionals from your state or who work with similar populations? Sit down with a student to talk about your journey to where you are now. Or, join the Mental Health Interest Network on Saturday morning. 

AMHCA Foundation Reception

One additional opportunity I’d like to highlight is the AMHCA Foundation Reception on Friday evening. Stop by from 5:40–6:40 p.m. to learn more about the Foundation and consider a donation. Intrigued? 

The AMHCA Foundation’s Mission is: To improve the mental health of all Americans through public education about mental health issues, mental health research, access to mental health services, and promoting high standards for mental health practitioners.

Get the Best Rate on the Conference Hotel

Don’t miss your chance to stay just steps from the conference—book your hotel room soon at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa! 

With registration on track for record-setting attendance, AMHCA has already increased our hotel room block twice. Book your room today. ... AMHCA’s rate is valid until June 25 or until the AMHCA block fills. To book your hotel room, call 866–246–6563, or make your reservation online.