I didn't run into any former S.O.s, whether good, bad or indifferent, nor were any friends at the class. As I mentioned yesterday, a psychologist-attorney I've consulted was there. Also in attendance was someone I evaluated recently. That was unexpected.
For reasons I won't get into, it was a pleasant surprise rather than an awkward experience, which can be the case when you have a city practice that rarely brings you into even brief contact with patients or clients outside of the clinical setting. I had a part-time suburban practice for many years but, it was so far from home, I didn't run into patients locally.
Non-urban practitioners who work in or near their homes can't avoid running into patients. Spouse and family, places they shop, dine, get a haircut, health club, personal causes and even politics may be exposed. I was once in a relationship with a psychoanalyst practicing in a small town. She described a particularly difficult locker room exposure to a teenage patient (non-analysand) with serious body image issues. It was at the only gym in town.
My friend was an athlete and hardcore adventurer and not about to give up her gym time. If possible, I'd have opted for the shower at home, but not everyone has a schedule that permits that.
Some may wonder, what's the big deal about running into patients? These contacts can present clinical challenges that might be dismissed as grist for the therapeutic mill. The reality is that too much grist can overwhelm a treatment. The grist argument may be persuasive to non-therapists, but you have to experience the work and the issues that get raised to appreciate how disruptive these encounters can be in some cases, especially if you're doing psychodynamic/analytic work with a patient.
Enough of that. Returning to C.E. class yesterday, the course itself was fine for a 7-hour class. But consider that's less than a quarter of the classroom time you might have in a 3-credit hour graduate course, then subtract the typical 1000 or so pages of reading, exams and a paper or two, and it's evident that you can't really accomplish much in one day of C.E.. It's enough to become familiarized with the outlines of a subject to decide if you want to invest some time in reading more, enroll in more traditional coursework or participate in more extensive training elsewhere, but the class itself isn't going to take you very far.
We can take CE classes that are focussed on a more narrow area within a subfield of interest, but even these classes tend to have have a rather cursory, survey feel. My preference would be clinical case conferences with everyone having more or less the same background and training so that we can dig into an interesting case in greater depth. Maybe the presenter and discussants will have a particular angle they want to pursue so that the group can focus on some narrow clinical challenge or flesh out some particular construct.
But the truth is, for me, time, location and cost in dollars and intellectual pain are primary considerations in choosing a C.E. course. By intellectual pain, I don't mean intellectually challenging, but my expectation of the moron quotient associated with some particularly trendy or faddish subjects. I avoid woo-ish classes like the plague and there are far too many of those out there.