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Workshop leader, conference speaker, Jeffrey Kottler, advocacy, psychotherapy, counseling, social justice, leadership, change

A Smorgasbord of Options for Topics and Experiences

Keynote Speech at American Counseling Association Conference

Keynote Speech at American Counseling Association Conference

Jeffrey Kottler is an internationally renown presenter who appears in national media and as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator. He regularly offers speeches and workshops related to counseling, psychotherapy, education, leadership, advocacy, and social justice topics. Programs can be structured to best fit the context, setting, goals, and audience, whether as a one hour keynote speech, interpersonal process group or seminar, one or two day experiential workshop.

Jeffrey has worked as a lecturer and workshop leader in dozens of countries and throughout North America, continuously adapting a style that is sensitive to the culture and needs of the participants. There are no “stock” speeches, workshops, or seminars. Each presentation is customized for the audience and setting. Universal features include:

  • inspirational and motivational messages
  • humorous and memorable stories
  • experiential activities that promote interaction


The power of storytelling in therapy--and everyday life

What’s a story that changed your life? It could have been a story told to you by a teacher, a parent, a coach, or a counselor. It could have been a story from a film, television show, play, song lyrics, or novel. It could have been a family story, a fairy tale, fable, myth or legend. Human memory, and all human experiences, are created and remembered as narratives, whether they include dreams, fantasies, crises, or life’s challenges. In one sense, counselors, therapists, and teachers are professional storytellers, whether the anecdotes are offered in the form of self- disclosures, metaphors, parables, case examples, or illustrative examples. In addition, novels, movies, television shows, biographies, have a profound affect on people. We attempt to influence and persuade people through the power of stories, as well as "hold" the stories of those we help. This program reviews the ways that stories are an integral part of persuasion and influence and how we can be far more effective, skilled, and creative in the ways we approach our efforts to maximize our impact.


bad therapy and We Learn from Our failures and mistakes

In spite of the reluctance to deny our mistakes and minimize our failures, we learn more from these experiences, and remember the lessons, in ways that successful outcomes can't touch. Interview with the greatest therapists, about their worst failures, reveal some fascinating themes that can encourage all of us to be more open about what we don't know and understand.


Creative breakthroughs in Therapy (or teaching, or Leadership)

Whereas the experience of being a therapist can often seem routine, dealing with similar issues, telling well-worn stories, using standard skills, applying favored methods--occasionally there are moments, even whole sessions, that appear miraculous in their innovation. During such creative breakthroughs, therapists find themselves saying or doing things that have never been done before. They have crossed a threshold of the familiar into completely unknown territory, a place where it feels as if a new voice has been discovered. This program highlights some of the common themes that spark creative innovation. Participants will have the opportunity to explore blocks to creativity in their work, as well as to consider innovative ways that they can initiate more dynamic and flexible strategies, especially with the most challenging clients and intractable problems.

relationships in therapy. . . and the Therapist's Life

Relationships form the basis for much of what helping professionals do. In spite of the focus on theoretical models, techniques, and interventions, these variables actually account for a relatively small part of successful outcomes compared to the felt experience of clients who report feeling understood. The ultimate effectiveness of any intervention or technique often depends on the quality of relationships that have been developed and maintained. We will explore those relational factors that lead to lasting changes, as well as the different options that can be customized to each individual. In addition, helping relationships often have a reciprocal effect in which clinicians are also transformed, for better or worse, as a result of their therapeutic work.


Changing People's Lives While Transforming your own: Paths to Advocacy and social justice

This program explores the ways that we can redefine and expand their roles to become more actively involved in advocacy and social justice issues, especially for marginalized and oppressed groups. The content is based on several of Jeffrey's books, his work in a dozen countries and communities around the world, and interviews with those who have reached far beyond the usual bounds of their profession to make a difference in the lives of desperate people, both within North America and abroad. Attention will be focused on reciprocal influences and the ways that we are transformed personally and professional as a result of service beyond the call of duty.


Change: What Really makes a difference?

There are dramatic and significant discrepancies between what helpers believe is most helpful versus what their clients report was most useful. Even after decades of empirical research we still don’t have a handle on what really leads to lasting changes in people’s lives, both within counseling and in everyday experiences. This workshop explores the nature of quantum change and which factors are most instrumental and most likely to maintain continued progress long after relationships end. There is an emphasis on the power of stories in people’s lives and how they have a lasting influence. All too often the focus of helping and healing is solely on the initial momentum but often ignores what makes changes endure over time. 

Secrets of Exceptional Practitioners

Whether in the arena of therapy, the classroom, corporate settings, or everyday life, extraordinary professionals demonstrate certain attributes and skills that are considered most influential. Based on 15 years of research with some of the world's most accomplished clinicians, teachers, theorists, authors, and spiritual leaders, there are particular dimensions in common, most of which remain hidden or disguised. It isn't just what we do to help others, but also who we are as human beings, the ways we walk through life and practice what we preach. Participants will have opportunities to explore ways that they can increase their personal and professional effectiveness, connect more deeply with clients and others, and share with others those behaviors and attributes that appear to be most empowering and influential.


Aging Therapists and their Aging clients

More than half of practicing counselors and therapists are over the age of 50. In addition, our clientele are also growing older just as the population is become more weighted with elders who are now living 30 or even 40 years beyond “retirement.” There are not only unique issues and challenges for older clients to confront, but also the search for greater meaning and generativity in the later years.  This program will explore some of the unique issues related to aging—for all participants in the process.


What you don't know about leadership but probably should: Applications to daily life

Leadership is the single most studied aspect of all human behavior, and yet more than half of those in managerial or executive positions are described as “incompetent.” In addition, ¾ of employees say the worst part of their job is dealing with a terrible boss. Although this program focuses specifically on leadership challenges at work, especially those that have been neglected, we examine the ways that these skills can be broadened to a variety of other areas throughout our daily lives. After all, we lead others not just by purposeful planning, decision making, and strategic actions at work, but by the ways we walk through life, modeling exactly those qualities and values that we consider so important for others. We not only have the opportunity to demonstrate the attitudes, beliefs, and behavior that we advocate and teach to others, but a mandate to be who we most wish others to be.


Keynote speech in Charleston, South Carolina

Keynote speech in Charleston, South Carolina