Conference offers great tips for establishing and growing independent practices

By Jennifer Imig Huffman, Ph.D.
November 7, 2012

Strategies for launching, growing and revitalizing independent practices were featured at the first annual APA Division 42 Fast Forward Conference held in San Diego, Oct. 5-6.

About 160 attended the sessions at the Rancho Bernardo Inn and Spa. Headline speakers included Steven Walfish, Ph.D., author of many books on making a practice successful; Keely Kolmes, Psy.D., who specializes in integrating psychology and social media; Katherine Nordal, Ph.D,, executive director of the APA Practice Organization; and Peter Sheras, Ph.D., and Phyllis Koch-Sheras, Ph.D., who specialize in couples therapy.

Janet Lapp, Ph.D., gave the opening presentation to begin the conference that included presentations by 32 psychologists and 18 programs offered CE credits.

One of the highlights was a speed mentoring event directed by Heather Wittenberg, Psy.D., of BabyShrink fame. The event matched doctoral, early career and newly established independent practitioners with 20 innovative psychologist mentors who had been selected based on practice interests, career and personal goals.

The organizing committee for the conference included educational, inspirational and practical sessions that emphasized hands-on learning and expert training as well as up-to-the minute ethics seminars on the interface of psychology with technologies.

Programs focused on ethics in the age of Google and Facebook, mindfulness, supporting parents, preparation for court testimony and legal and ethical issues in telepsychology. Opportunities to network and socialize outside of the presentations were also emphasized.

The beautiful weather was the backdrop to happy hour receptions, buffet-style lunches, and evening “Dine Arounds,” the latter which allowed attendees to sign up for transportation to local restaurants and socialize with other conference attendees. The reactions to this conference as noted through the list-serve and social media forums have been overwhelmingly positive.

Several providers tweeted on Twitter during the conference and a summary of these tweets is on the Division 42 website. One of the consistent refrains heard from attendees across the board (from ECP to well-established practitioners) was that the Division 42’s Fast Forward Conference was one of the best conferences they had ever attended.

That was this psychologist’s sentiment exactly. Well done Fast Forward conference planning committee, I cannot wait to see what you have in store for us next year!

Jennifer Imig Huffman, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist specializing in developmental conditions in children and adolescents. She is the owner of Neuropsychology Center for Attention, Behavior and Learning in Lincoln, Ill. She and her husband, Maj. Dennis Huffman, Illinois Army National Guard, are the co-founders of Little Hero Helpers, a non-profit organization designed to support the emotional well-being of mili-tary children and families. The Huffmans live in Central Illinois with their three young children. She may be reached by email at:

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