As the new President of ICAPP, I want to thank and acknowledge the work, energy and creativity that Allen Du Mont, our past President has devoted on behalf of ICAPP. His commitment to ICAPP extends over many years of work and involvement as President, Treasurer and member of the Board. Al's contribution to keeping our conference going has been invaluable. Al maintains his commitment to ICAPP and the Board by remaining as Treasurer despite his increased responsibilities with the National Academies of Practice. In March he was appointed to the Executive Committee as the Vice President of Membership of the National Academies of Practice; for the four years prior to this appointment, Al was Co Chair and Chair of the Social Work Academy of NAP.
Ever since my involvement with ICAPP as a conference participant, presenter and. later, Board member and Membership Chair, it has been my conviction that all of us who have actually experienced the uniqueness of an ICAPP conference form a community based upon this experience. For many of us, I believe, the Conference experience has been transformative and a confirmation of our individual efforts to formulate unique ideas out of our practice. The work we do is not out of any formulary. Its vitality is grounded in the mysteries of each therapeutic encounter. ICAPP is a forum where this fundamental reality if respected, revealed and enhanced. To stimulate and encourage this sense of community among us, I intend to continue to send out quarterly some thoughts and ideas about ICAPP and our work as social work psychotherapists.
As so clearly presented in Al’s message from the president of our last edition of the Newsletter in January, when ICAPP was founded over 50 years ago, social workers in private practice did not have the kinds of professional supports and organizations available to us today. They struggled hard for support, validity and recognition from both within and outside the profession. ICAPP was created by these pioneers in response to the needs of clinical social workers in private practice - many of whom were practicing in relative isolation.
The response was strong. The membership grew and there was palpable engagement and commitment to the uniqueness of the ICAPP experience. It was unique not only because it provided opportunities for learning, - as do the conferences of many clinical organizations today; but because of its novel format of presentation and participation.
ICAPP provided a format in which each participant had ample opportunity to share and develop their own creative and personal therapeutic approaches; approaches developed out of the specific realities of their own practice. It is a rich and deeply felt experience of mutually enhancing collegiality - specifically for social workers in psychotherapeutic practice.
As conference opportunities and other kinds of organizational support developed for social workers, ICAPP’s conference format has provided and continues to provide this uniquely creative experience - as its sole purpose. As far as I am aware the ICAPP conference format and experience remains without parallel.
Although conference opportunities have flowered, personal and organizational resources to fund conferences for many of us have diminished. These days, one has to think twice about the where to spend what monies are available for conference, travel and time expenditures. ICAPP members, present and past, maintain their annual membership out of a commitment to the value of this conference format of mutual exchange; a value not only for their individual attendance and participation, but to keep available a rare and much needed format of professional enhancement and development for social workers in therapeutic practice.
The conference is the heart and raison d’etre of ICAPP.
Those who become members are committed to support the continued viability of this special resource. However crucial annual membership is to the continued ICAPP conference, it is insufficient in itself. Conference attendance is the lifeline for ICAPP’s viability going forward.
It has always been my conviction that we who have attended an ICAPP conference, member or Friend of ICAPP, form a community based upon this common experience. Whether or not you decide to attend next year’s conference or another at a future time, we look to you to make known the value of this experience and disseminate the conference information to as many colleagues as possible. You personally know what a rare opportunity it is for social workers facing the unique clinical issue of their practice to present and explore their ideas for discussion with this group
of experienced clinicians. Those among us who are academics and/or have teaching and training responsibilities know the ICAPP conference offers a rich opportunity to explore and get feedback for future journal or book projects. The good will, richness and depth of clinical experience in an exploratory discussion of your ideas is not to be found anywhere else.
As the conference material and call for papers is developed, we will be sending this information on to you in the hope that you will take the time to actively disseminate this information.
We will also by eager to hear from you regarding possible themes and topics for future conferences as well as locations where you would like to see the conference held. As you all know, we have a history of holding the conference in places with good accommodations and ample opportunity for sightseeing and exploration. In this regard we are truly international. We have held conferences in Canada, Europe, Mexico and South America to name just a few locations … as well as the many interesting locations in the US.
In 2013, we will be meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland at the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica from July 24 thru 27. Our theme for this conference will be:
The individual in the family and the family in the individual.
This is a theme dealt with daily in our practice. It offers wonderful opportunities for papers to explore the many facets of practice dilemmas with families, couples as well as individual clients. Other possibilities for future conference sites that have been mentioned are Costa Rica, a return to one of the European or Eastern European cities, or conference friendly cities in the US and Canada.
What do you think? What suggestions for themes, topics and venues would you like to suggest for future conferences?
Your feedback will greatly enhance the possibilities for continued successful ICAPP conferences and, therefore, the continued viability of the ICAPP conference experience. Email your suggestions for conference themes and locations to:
I look forward to hearing from you.
Jim Donnelly, DSW, LCSW, DPNAP