As a psychotherapy training nerd, I’m always looking for good training opportunities.  What’s the most training one can find on a limited time and budget?  I recently talked about this with Carol Odsess, PhD.  Dr. Odsess is a psychotherapy trainer in Albany, California who specializes in EMDR and Energy Psychology. 

What trainings have the best cost/benefit ratio?  A good place to start are the many excellent articles and interviews with master therapists available at, which are free to read.  (You only have to pay if you want the CEs.)  In addition, Dr. Odsess offered a few recommendations to stretch your training dollars. 
  • Instead of going to a conference, consider buying the audio recording of the conference instead.  You save the costs of airfare and hotel, and keep your weekend!  Additionally, you get to experience every training at the conference, which is more than you would get if you went in person.  Dr. Odsess recommends listening to audios of conferences while commuting (which has the side benefit of reducing road-rage.)  I’ve been working my way through 200 hours of the 2009 Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference during my commute for the past year.  She also pointed out that having the trainings on audio makes it easier to refer to them when writing or teaching.
  • A free way to enhance your training is to videotape your own therapy sessions and review them later.  There’s nothing like getting an un-edited view of your work to improve effectiveness.  Likewise, many consultation groups are free to join, or you can start your own.
  • Dr. David Nuys produces two excellent podcasts on psychology:  Shrink Rap Radio and Wise Counsel.  All past talks on both podcasts are available for download.
  • Check with your local library to see if they can order psychotherapy books or videos through their national link system. 
  • Join a listserv related to your specialties.  Many listservs have fascinating ongoing discussions about psychotherapy theory and technique.
  • Check out the great psychology blog mindhacks.
  • A few other websites offer free trainings via the internet or teleseminars, including traumasoma, wisebrain, and dharmaseat.
                Another issue to consider is the effectiveness of trainings.  For the most powerful and effective training, Dr. Odsess recommends live supervision, where the trainer observes (and sometimes intervenes in) a live therapy session.  Live supervision activates experiential learning, which she considers much more powerful than didactic or passive learning.  I myself prefer live supervision, as I wrote about here.  Live supervision is usually not cheap, however, so those on a budget might prefer the resources above.

File under: The Art of Psychotherapy, Therapy Training