Nick Kemp - Presenting at the IASH 2008 Conference in San Francisco
It's a couple of days now since the I.A.S.H. San Francisco Conference 2008 and I have had the opportunity to reflect on the event. The main conference was held over 3 days and there were an amazing number of NLP Therapists present, who have been working in the field for decades. I mention "NLP Therapists" rather than "NLP Trainers" as most attendees were focussed on using the skills in specific therapeutic contexts rather than teaching NLP courses. The event was held at The Double Tree Hotel close to San Francisco airport, allowing the presenters to easily fly in from all parts of the USA. Most of the audience were from the USA, with a small percentage of delegates from Europe, and Asia.
My first presentation was on my Provocative Change approach at 11.30am on day one of the event. I have never presented this material in the USA and had no idea of the response I would get. With my own workshops I know exactly how many people will be attending ahead of time, whereas in this instance I had no idea who may turn up! In a short period of time the room was full and the challenge was to concentrate the key elements of this approach into just 90 minutes. I decided to do a couple of live demonstrations of exercises I have used successfully in private practice and to also include a number of exercises for the group to practice. After the event a number of individuals asked about the possibility of running trainings in the USA.
At I.A.S.H. there were a host of different workshops each day with at least 5 different choices at any one time. I had a tough time figuring out who to see, but decided that I really must see Steve Andreas who teaches mostly in the USA. Steve gave an absolutely excellent 3 hour seminar on Grief and Forgiveness and I can't remember when I have heard such a skilled presentation that was so precise. The room was packed and Steve has a wonderful relaxed engaging style with the audience. I have seen many NLP workshops over the years from some of the most well known names in the field and this seminar was definitely one of the very best.
This was also an excellent opportunity to interview a range of great indviduals who use NLP in a variety of ways in their work, including Charles Faulkner, Don Blackerby, Richard Gray and Tim Hallbom. I also met Frank Bourke who has over 3 decades of NLP experience and is one of the smartest and funniest people I have come across. Frank is also involved in spearheading the Research and Recognition project for NLP. As well as the formal seminar events there was plenty of opportunity to socialise and one especially memorable evening at a Japanese restaurant still makes me smile.
On the Sunday I ran a presentation on Provocative Therapy and NLP. This consisted of a series of demos and exercises explaining Frank Farrelly’s Provocative Therapy approach. The audience was very enthusiastic and I later found out what Steve Andreas meant when he commented "S.R.O. for your presentation eh?" Later when I aked him I realised that this meant "standing room only" and that 10 people had to be turned away, including himself!
Many who know me will be aware that I have for some time lamented the tendency for people to use NLP more for personal entertainment than in order to apply it to develop excellent communication and therapeutic skills. The I.A.S.H. conference was a refreshing and timely reminder that there are many extremly highly skilled NLP Therapists out there from all schools of NLP and it's rare in my experience to see so many people focussed on using these skills in a manner that really helps people on a greater scale. It was also unusual to find so many people who had experience of learning NLP way back in the 1970s and who have continued to avidly develop their own capabilities in so many specific contexts, including the fields of education, health and addictions. Hearing about the treatment of Post Traumatic Stress in 911 survivors, and survivors of the recent earthquake in China, as well as 25 years of the Brooklyn Drug Treatment Programme was hugely moving.
It was such an inspiring and enjoyable conference. I have been invited to the 2010 event and certainly will be keeping that slot in my diary!