I try not to get caught up in the wave of false promises and dedications that is the new years resolution but I thought it might be important, not only for my friends and supporters but for myself, to offer a sort of review of the year and a plan for the next year. You see I want to make it the best year possible and I believe that although it is arbitrary to develop such a set of ideas at the beginning of the year, there is a tradition that supports it. It will be up to me to meet these goals.

Last year was full of decisions and changes. To begin the year, I dropped my PHD even though I was approximately at the ABD stage. I dropped it due to a feeling of overwhelm, a lack of financial support for completing and a feeling that it was no longer meshing with my state of mind. This year the bills for that decision have started coming in. I regret nothing about my time at Saybrook. I made some really great friends, learned from some amazing teachers, and completed all of the coursework necessary to become licensed in the state of Georgia. Just about 6 months ago I received my LAPC and in the next 2-3 months I expect to be fully licensed. That is quite an accomplishment and I owe that to the loving support of my wife, Family Ties, my many friends, and the amazing teaching staff of Saybrook University. I may in the future return to Saybrook, but for now my path lies elsewhere.

Another important development last year was the amount of time we spent in the board gaming universe. To begin with our friendship with Dave and Leslie, the proprietors of Well Played (an amazing gaming company that both delivers and teaches others how to play board games- plus they offer in home parties for any who are interested). What started out as a simple interest in the game company has blossomed into a wonderful and growing friendship that I hope will go on for a long while. In 2014 I hope to work with Dave to bring gaming to non-traditional audiences such as group homes and nursing homes. Far too often the residents of these places get very little attention from positive sources, I look forward to changing that and with Dave’s help I think we can turn it into a therapeutic enterprise. Secondly, we have made many new friends as a result of our relationships with Dave and Leslie. You are too many to be counted, but I look forward to growing with each and every one of you, playing games, and imbibing great food.

It was also this year that through my kinship with the gaming community that I have realized the therapeutic value of gaming. I have played games for a long time, but with the increase of gaming and my awareness of the ways that various game mechanisms expose challenges and support growth, I have dedicated a portion of my time to researching the use of board games as a therapeutic intervention. To this end I have been talking with another new friend of mine, Josue Cardona who runs the fabulous Geek Therapy podcast. Josue and I have been looking for opportunities to collaborate together. At the moment the details of this collaboration are not yet in stone but it looks like I will be writing some blog posts about using games in therapy, talking with Josue on the geek therapy podcast, and presenting with Josue at the Secrets Con game festival, on the therapeutic value of games. Lots of exciting plans here and I look forward to letting you all hear about the results of these endeavors.

On the other end of my creative spectrum is the Soundscape Progcast. This has been a continuing labor of love for the past approx 9-10 years. In the next year I hope to see a few changes in the way our broadcast runs. I have talked a lot about a little project called ‘minisodes’. This is a side project for Soundscape in which I will be presenting a short 1 hour podcast with a bend towards the show being more academic in nature. I would like to do this once a month as a means of supporting continued education about the nature of progressive music and as a catalyst for my own learning about this music that I love so much. Some of the ideas floating in my head have been looking at the themes in the music of Yes, the psychology of improvisation, and the existential nature of Pink Floyd. Heavy stuff yes, but a lot of excitement has been brewing. Also as I streamline the show I hope to develop a greater capacity to interview guests, and bring in more great new music. Ideas continue to line up at the gate of my dreams, so look for some exciting developments.

More close to home, and perhaps meaningful only for Suzi and our closest  friends, is getting our house in order. We have just this last month began work on rerouting drainage in our yard. This has been due to continual flooding in our basement, our finished basement. What we wish to do is get the basement to the point that it can be a library and game room. A place for friends to gather and play games with us. Hosting our own game nights may be a bit of a stretch, but it would be most wonderful if we could once again use this area of our house. At the present rate of work, we may be done by Spring- here’s hoping. Plus with the completion of these home projects, Suzi and I can again start looking into being foster/adoptive parents.

In general, I want to spend more time with family and friends, the people that I love. I want to develop my therapy skills- Family Ties is offering me a number of opportunities in this regard from supporting my ongoing studies in music and guided imagery, to offering education in family therapy and trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy. I want to make a difference in the lives of the people I connect with. I want to improve my health (the dreaded new years resolution that every new TV ad will shove down our throats) by continuing work at the gym, and changing my fast food reflex to one of choosing a healthier diet. A number of goals await, and I look forward to embracing each and every one of them. Now if I can just shake this winter cold and move forward.

To each and everyone of you I wish a happy new year and wings that work!

Woody Harris