Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things I learned at ArCA Conference

Well, I made it back home.
The Arkansas Counseling Association powers-that-be decided for us to gather this year in Fort Smith, as opposed to beautiful Hot Springs where we've met for years. I've never thought of Fort Smith as being a destination, just a rural Arkansas town stuck out there on the border between us and Oklahoma that you drive by to get somewhere else; when I entered the address into the GPS, the guide's voice said, "Why in heck would you want to go there?" But it turned out to be a pretty good conference, as conferences go, and I thought I would share a few bits of wisdom with you that I learned.

1. Don't wear fancy jeans to a conference. Sitting down most of the time, you're going to want to cross your legs some, and even though the jeans I wore on the first day, the ones with beaded designs down the legs, got compliments, crossing my legs was uncomfortable and also ruined the beading.

2. Some presenters show up every year, and I always sign-up for Roger Young's sessions. This year he talked about biofeedback, something I've known about but haven't really tried. I always have cold feet and hands, and he showed us how we can warm them up just by thinking about it, and in the process lower our stress. Remember mood rings? They're Galvanic Skin Response detectors; he used electronic gadgets, but mood rings are based on the same principle. As kids we thought they were magic, but they're actually reading the temperature of our skin. Mr. Young gave us a Stress Test, and mine showed I'm not very stressed, but back in the day, my test paper would have spontaneously combusted.

3. A hot topic this year was Internet Predators. People tell me I sound like a little girl on the phone, and I've always wanted to help the police to lure and capture perverts, so I got up the courage to ask the presenter how I could help, and he said private citizens can't get involved, only law enforcement..........so, scratch that notion. Anyway, I won't ruin your day by sharing what he told us, but pedophilia is much more pervalent than you can imagine. It's one of those nasty realities that normal people try not to think about, and that's why the pervs are so free to move among us; the internet is their new "playground". Detective Ernest Ward made us leary of even going online because............ did you know that if you Google and accidentally bring up one of his watched sites, your IP address is automatically entered into his data base? Scary stuff! I remember years ago, looking online for a quote by Alan Alda about taking responsibility. I was going to use it in a classroom presentation. Somehow I ended up at a nude movie star site! Well, these days, I don't guess butt nekkid movie stars are that big a deal, but I'm just sayin'.

4. Sometimes I'll choose a session that I know won't all be sitting, like the one on Brain Gym. Brenda Wood had us romping around and doing movements that had us all giggling but would be even more fun to do with little ones. The exercises are supposed to reconnect parts of the brain that we need for focusing and learning; mine haven't been connected in so long that they're no longer on a first name basis, but I plan on buying the book to see what Ian, Mollie and Rani think about it. You can find it on http://www.braingym.com/

5. Choosing between the offered sessions is a big deal, but by the third day, everyone, including the presenters, is on overload and very tired so it's best just to pick sessions on the ground floor and nearest the front door, car keys at the ready..........

I did get inspired to try some new artsy things that I'll most likely share with you later.
Hugz, and thanks for stopping by!

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