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by Alexandra Kaghan and Nancy Wachtenheim, Associate Co-Directors of Membership

Serving on the ICP+P Board over the past 2 1/2 years has been an enriching experience for us. As our term as Associate Co-Directors of Membership comes to a close this May, we have been reflecting on our involvement in ICP+P.

We decided to become Board members after we served as Conference Chairs for ICP+P’s 2016-2017 Institute, Embodying the Unspoken Self: Attachment, Trauma, Neurobiology and the Body. The featured speakers gave state of the art science and theory presentations on trauma and the body. The experiential component in the small groups that met throughout the Institute brought the material alive. Our membership was exposed and opened to new ways of working with attachment, trauma, and incorporating the body into psychotherapy.

In an effort to bring our excitement and enthusiasm from the Institute to the Board, we decided to run for the position of Member Relations. As part of the Board, we soon learned about its democratic process of decision making and we were involved in decisions regarding conference speakers, budgets, and envisioning the future of ICP+P.

As Co-Directors of Membership, we see one of our most important jobs is to help new members feel welcomed. We have personal contact with each new member. We offer them an opportunity to be interviewed and introduced in the ICP+P newsletter, and to match them with an experienced ICP+P member (known as the Mentorship Program). We organize greeters for conferences and we provide opportunities for new members to get to know each other. We also encourage new members to become involved in our community by volunteering.

Another important goal for us has been to reach out to emerging professionals and graduate students to become members. As our organization ages and in order to keep membership vital and thriving, we helped to develop a new fee structure for those who are new to ICP+P, emerging professionals, and graduate students. This has been significant in that 53 new members have joined during our term and 15 of those new members have been emerging professionals or graduate students. ICP+P is striving to have a more diverse membership. We welcome members of all identities and varied psychotherapy approaches. We look forward to the time when ICP+P has a significantly more diverse membership.

We have also been in charge of the Elections Committee over the past 2 cycles. We reached out to members to recruit possible candidates for open Board positions. Now we are excited to have a triumvirate of John Gershefski, Ruth Migler, and Adrienne Simenhoff who will work as a team in the Director role. There are several other open Board positions for the term beginning in May 2020. We encourage you to reach out to us if you are interested in being a part of a dynamic Board of Directors. It is an exciting time for the ICP+P community.

We gave to the ICP+P community during our terms over the past 2 1/2 years, and we have certainly received many gifts. In our role as Co-Directors of Membership, we have experienced connection, camaraderie, intellectual stimulation, and professional growth.

We would like to end with this poem by Alberto Rios, “When Giving Is All We Have,” as it speaks to the journey of giving and receiving in relationships.

When Giving Is All We Have
Alberto Rios – 1952-(1)
    One river gives
    Its journey to the next
We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.
We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.
We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—
Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.
Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:
Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.
You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me
What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made
Something greater from the difference
(1) From https://poets.org/poem/when-giving-all-we-have