In one months’ time I will be heading to Prague to attend the Weight Stigma Conference, and the International Conference of Eating Disorder 2017. These are arguably cornerstone conferences of the Eating Disorder field, and this time around they are running back to back in the same venue. I’m sure they will both be well attended and very educationally diverse.
This will be my first time at attending either of these events, and if I’m honest that is purely for financial reasons. International conferences have the unenviable task of choosing a location each year and for these events in particular recent locations have been New York, Vancouver and Reykjavik. Attending is an expensive undertaking with flights, accommodation, tickets and other accoutrements easily totalling a couple of thousand pounds.
This time around I’m lucky because the events are being hosted together, and in Europe – with travel to Prague from Liverpool (my closest airport) no more expensive than popping from here to London on the train. I have also been able to volunteer at ICED thereby significantly reducing the cost of my conference attendance. Air BnB accommodation has also offered me a much more financially viable option than staying at the pricey (though lovely) accommodation of the hosting venue.
All of these facts, when bundled together mean I get to go and listen to some of the best speakers in the field, and bring that knowledge home to my practice – without having to bump up the prices I charge my clients to cover the costs.
I can assure you that counselling doesn’t rake in the millions, it’s more a labour of love. Sure, I could probably charge more, but I want as many people as possible to be able to access therapy with someone who has specialist understanding of Eating Disorders without it costing them the earth. It’s all about balance; for the therapist, for the clients, for the profession and for the impact as a whole.
This year the Weight Stigma Conference are open for donations – these donations will collectively be added to a pot that will be used to offer bursaries for people who might not otherwise be able to attend. If you want to support the fund – and the dissemination of the most current knowledge – then you can donate by CLICKING HERE.
All of the finances aside, I will be attempting to blog, tweet, and post to my Instagram as much as I can, to do my bit to keep spreading awareness of that which I experience and learn during the course of the events. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog, and follow me on Twitter and Instagram to be kept up to date.