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Travels with Harlene: Hangzhou to Calgary

Hello dear readers! It is with so much joy that I share with you a new feature to Behind the Curtains, a series of stories and experiences from Harlene Anderson and her travels across the world. So let's take a peek and check in!


Travels with Harlene: Hangzhou to Calgary

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to share my work in various parts of the world and to meet and learn from so many creative people. I am continuously impressed with the ways practitioners from different disciplines explore, expand and put collaborative-dialogic practice into action.


Hangzhou, China. In late October after leaving home at 4:30 am and three flights, I arrived in Hangzhou, China. Hangzhou is located in China’s Lake District where the West Lake is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I participated in the Annual China Postmodern Psychology Forum and the Solution-Focused Therapy Conference, both hosted by the Brief Solution-Focused Therapy Center in Hangzhou. Both events included participants I have known over the years and new ones.


Presentations at the BSFT Day included a very inspiring one by Professor Dr. Lohong on the importance of being a reflective practitioner—taking time to reflect on your work and thinking about what can learn from your practice and life experiences. He illustrated with examples from his life and interesting stories from Chinese literature. Another was about a book club that Ms. Shen had created and the mutual support being part of this collegial experience gave participants. Professor Tian talked about the importance of researching our practices. All three could be said to emphasize the aesthetics and art of practice and the continued development and future of any practice such as postmodern psychology and BSFT requires collective creativity. The most touching part of the day was meeting the young graduate student who was assigned to translate my talk. I was quite appreciative of her efforts when she really didn’t know much about my work. It reminded me of the importance of using everyday English, speaking slowly and clearly.

I appreciate the Chinese and their welcoming and generous hospitality, and the wonderful meals, each always filled a taste of something I had not before experienced. It was chilly in my hotel room and I forgot my pajamas so they took me to a Chinese Walmart-like store where I bought some and that night I looked like a fuzzy pink bunny. Then four days later I was back on the plane to Houston, with all my wonderful memories. Wish you could have been with me.


Calgary, Canada. Two days later I did a quick turn-around and went to Calgary where I did a workshop on supervision for students and alumni of the School of Social Work and Family Therapy Program. An inspiring day with non-stop conversations among participants and with me. The day ended with a social at Sally St. George and Dan Wulf’s home-who always have wonderful foods and such a nice time to informally visit with the workshop participants and other guests including Jeff Chang and other Taos Institute Associates and Taos Institute PhD program learner Val Heerema. The day was followed by the Taos Institute Board of Director’s Annual Retreat. What a luxury to spend time with colleagues to review the year and plan for the next one. So many activities in 2018 and planned for 2019. For more take a look at the Taos Institute website: https://www.taosinstitute.net/.


Back home, and then to the Taos Institute 25th Anniversary conference in Cancun, Mexico. Stay tuned. Harlene Anderson


Thank you Harlene for sharing a piece of your life with us. It sounds like there were delightful and inspiring conversations all around. How very wonderful to have these meaningful connections with people. I am also thrilled for what your colleagues and you have in store for 2019. Also fuzzy pink pajamas sound beyond fabulous. Stick around dear readers, there will be more from Harlene very soon.

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