Professional Development, an Attendees Prospective

October 15, 2015
The team at Jefferson Oaks Baton Rouge outpatient center recently attended a Louisiana mental health and wellness conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge. This conference was the annual Louisiana Counseling Association Conference; The focus of this year's conference was interrelationships and the ties that bind us together. As someone who works in a Baton Rouge behavioral health hospital, this conference allowed me to network with other mental health professionals and seek development both in my career and individually. I discuss my conference experience and related thoughts below.  

Professional Growth

In the mental health profession, part of ethical and moral responsibility is to participate in continuing education events to share knowledge, expertise, and to network with other professionals. Recently, I was able to attend the annual Louisiana Counseling Association Conference to enhance my professional and personal growth. This year was the highest attended conference on record which provided a wonderful opportunity to network with other counselors and mental health professionals. Typically, in the past when I have attended I was there for just educational purposes and have not concentrated on networking with others, but this year I was also there as a representative for Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health’s outpatient services. This allowed me to meet with hundreds of other professionals in a new capacity. This provided me the opportunity to share my belief and confidence in our outpatient service programs on a large scale and gain resources for continuing care referrals to best suit our clients and their individualized needs.   LCAC Louisiana Counseling Association Conference  

New Skills and Reignited Passion

In addition to networking opportunities, I was able to attend workshops that increased my professional and personal development. The focuses of these workshops were so various it allowed me to increase my skills in working with groups, couples, families, and individuals. Two of the workshops I attended in particular were so powerful it reignited my passion for being a therapist all over again. One focused on couples’ communication and acknowledging the masculine and feminine “gifts” that we give one another; the other was on the power of empathy in the therapeutic relationship as told by a current client. I always believed the main reason that I attended this conference year after year was to gain knowledge and tools to bring back to my clients. This year, however, I attended the conference because I leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated personally as well as professionally, excited to bring these new tools to my clients in outpatient services.   Louisiana Counseling Association Conference Jefferson Oaks  

Seek Learning and Development Anywhere You Can

I understand that everyone reading this post may not be a mental health professional, but my hope for you is that you find a place where you can connect, replenish, learn, and grow in your profession; whether that is a lunch with co-workers or a weekend retreat. Just because we have finished “school” does not mean that we stop needing or wanting to learn from one another. If you have the opportunity, take it!   “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning” – Jiddu Krishnamurti    

Emily Hausladen, PLPC, NCC Mental Health Baton Rouge