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Personal Stories and Quotes about SPR

For more quotes and SPR stories, please also visit our photo gallery.

SPR is an academic home, an annual “family” reunion, a place of scientific inspiration, and an evolving scrapbook of vivid moments and memories. I recall the nerves of my first student presentation, and experiencing imposter syndrome when first discussing a panel as an “adult.” I also remember, though, that these were unnecessary feelings, as SPR folks are so supportive and engaging. I have shared port with new friends, danced on picnic tables with luminaries, started new collaborations, and sacrificed much sleep for great fun and stimulating dialogue. I look forward to many more years of filling the scrapbook.
- Mike Constantino

I have many fun memories of SPR, especially of the international meetings.  In many occasions I had fascinating interactions with different members.  So first a brief story of how I felt welcome at SPR, which I believe is a common experience among newcomers.  In one of my first SPR as a beginning assistant professor, I presented a paper (I believed it was a part of my PhD dissertation).  David Orlinsky was the moderator of the panel and he introduced me by telling my name and told the audience that my research assistants were Tim Beck and Lester Luborsky who were co-authors on this paper with Rob DeRubeis and Paul Crits-Christoph. This was an hilarious moment.
To go back to the true spirit of SPR, there was a wonderful evening at the SPR in Geilo where dozens of SPR members spent the night telling jokes and playing music (Alexander Wilczek, Gaby Shefler and the late Robert Weinryb) were among the leaders.  It was an amazing evening, it was a bit cool and of course, it was June and the sun never completely set down in that part of the world.  Those of us who have been in the EC often debate the advantages/disadvantages of having our conferences in cities (e.g., Copenhagen, Philadelphia) vs. in secluded locations (Asilomar). I am delighted that over the years, the organization has found a balance between the two.
In brief, I am delighted to have attended my first SPR in Santa Fe, New Mexico, some 25+ years ago and I have returned to it every year except one when it was in Lyon (France) because I was not allowed to exit the USA due to visa issues!  SPR has been my home for almost all my academic life and I could not have found a better home.
- Jacques P. Barber

During my first SPR meeting, in Barcelona in 2008, I just happened to sit next to a very warm and kind white-haired man. He was very funny and most of all, very interested in my work and life. He started to ask me about my current story and research interests. When I told him what they were, he informed me that he himself had worked with development of psychotherapists for some time and we talked a bit about it. My advisor, Dr. Eugênia Ribeiro, who was on my other side, poked me and said in a low and reinforcing voice: "Oh, it is nice that you are talking about your work with Dr. Orlinsky". I just froze and exclaimed: "You mean David Orlinsky? The most cited guy in my thesis?!".
- Rodrigo da Cunha Teixeira Lopes on a significant SPR memory

I am still experiencing the excitement of my first introduction to SPR. It is the best place to feel encouraged by others to continue to pursue and enrich all lines of research. Since attending SPR, I feel different. Although I haven’t yet finished my Master’s thesis, I am already full of ideas for my Ph.D. (which I hadn’t even planned to write before attending the SPR conference in Copenhagen). At the SPR meeting I realized that nothing is impossible. Even the most unrealistic research idea can be further explored and produce fruitful results that can later be used by for other researchers.
- Hanna Kirnoha  (student, SFU Vienna)

I’ll never forget what an exciting and fulfilling experience my first SPR presentation was. I stood there, in the front, and took a closer look at the audience: David Orlinsky, Helge Rønnestad, Bernhard Strauss and Jan Carlsson were just a few of the people that I recognized. I felt deeply moved that all these “big names” were there to listen to my presentation. And then, I felt my blood rushing through my body. At this very moment, David Orlinsky, sitting in the front row, smiled at me and silently said: “Just breathe”. That was exactly what I needed. Such a relaxing and encouraging experience. That’s the SPR spirit.
- Elitsa Tilkidjeva (student, SFU Vienna)

What motivated the foundation of SPR? David Orlinsky (1995, p4) writes: “I met Lester Luborsky at the 1966 APA convention, where we both [Lester Luborsky and Hans Strupp] gave papers on the ‘good therapy hour,’ and was invited to Philadelphia for a most friendly and encouraging visit with him and his collaborators, Arthur Auerbach and Marilyn Johnson. Ken [Howard]and I also discovered that a form of almost-quasikinship relationship with Hans Strupp. One thing led to another, and sometime in 1967, when the Strupp’s were visiting their family in Chicago, Hans agreed to come to our office at the Illinois Institute for Juvenile Research. When he was there, we floated an idea that had been percolating ever since the previous year when we were rebuffed in our attempt to join the research community. We said something like, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have an open conference on psychotherapy research, to which all who had an interest in the field could come!” My recollection is that Hans thought it might be a very nice thing indeed. Being young and brash, that was all the encouragement we needed.”
- David Orlinsky

“The SPR annual meeting was generally the professional highlight of my year: I always looked forward, not only to the presentations that I would hear, but also to the informal stimulating conversations and to the personal friendships that were formed …. One of the outstanding aspects of our meetings was the effort made by everyone to be inclusive, e.g., by introducing students and young researchers to established researchers whose work they had read. I remember early presentations of work that I sensed would point us in new fruitful directions …. I also remember meeting young researchers whom I recognized from early on as future leaders in the field …. I had the opportunity to organize sessions at SPR meetings in areas that were not yet common in the literature, e.g., panels on issues related to women and psychotherapy; and (partly due to my position at NIMH) I was able to invite speakers to our conferences from outside of our own research world.” (taken from David Orlinsky & Irene Elkin, with their permission (panel presentation at SPR Chile, 2009)
- Irene Elkin

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