School psychology is a taxing profession. You have to juggle the educational and therapeutic needs of your students with school politics and budgetary issues. That’s part of why it’s so important to focus on your own self-care. Conferences for school psychologists are one way to combine your love for your job with your need for a break. They give you the opportunity to travel to new cities, learn new techniques and recharge your batteries. Here are five upcoming conferences for school therapists on any budget.
National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Conference
NASP holds their conferences early in the year. It offers more than 1,200 sessions, many with certified professional development (CPD) credits available. You can also visit an exhibitor’s hall with thousands of square feet of testing materials, books, therapeutic art supplies and age-appropriate toys for your students. As the largest school psych conference in the country, NASP has also included a mentoring program to foster connections and a number of interest group meetings so you can network with other professionals who share your challenges.
NASP Summer Conferences
If you can’t make the annual conference in February, don’t worry. NASP offers summer conferences as well. You’ll still get great workshops, CPD credits and access to an amazing exhibitor’s hall. NASP wants to make sure that every school psychologist can access NASP’s conferences, so they hold smaller versions on opposite sides of the country. Registration for these events will open in the spring.
Every state has a statewide association of school therapy professionals. By joining your local community, you can learn about the politics, community events and professional trends that will impact your student population. Most associations host regular conferences for school psychologists in the state. These gatherings provide a chance for you to network with local practitioners, find out about new job opportunities and build partnerships. They tend to focus more on local coalition building than expensive outside speakers, so registration fees stay modest. In smaller states, you might be close enough to the event that you can drive home every night instead of springing for a hotel room.
International School Psychology Association (ISPA) Conference
The ISPA conference’s focus is “Supporting vulnerable children and young people in an uncertain world.” Workshops will cover trauma-informed care, play therapy in schools, working with diverse populations and much more. If you have the budget for attending a conference overseas, this one is a great choice, and it’s an English-speaking country to boot.
Temple University’s Annual Conference for School Professionals
In Philadelphia, the Temple University Psychology Department joins with the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania and the School District of Philadelphia to put on their annual conference. The theme this year is “Ensuring success for all children.” The one-day event features attorney Marsha Levick as the keynote speaker and morning and afternoon sessions. If you’re looking for a conference that won’t drain you as much as multi-day gatherings, consider this event. Although it’s short, it offers quality programming and learning opportunities.
You owe it to yourself and your students to pay attention to your professional development this year. You’ll be a better, more invested therapist after leaving a school psychology conference.
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