Possible Futures: Creative Thinking for the Speed of Life by Jude Treder-Wolff
In Possible Futures: Creative Thinking For The Speed of Life (Life Stage Publications, ISBN 978-0-9799905-0-2, May 2009, Softcover, $11.95), author and certified psychotherapist Jude Treder-Wolff discusses the need for real connection and how community fuels advancement in society. She evaluates the risk of overconsumption in society, such as the effect of being inundated with advertising and our quest for accumulating more material possessions, and examines the link between creativity and community. Treder-Wolff asserts that these factors have a great effect on our mental, physical and emotional well being.
As the pace of society hastens, and we move into what some business leaders are calling the Network Economy, Treder-Wolff sees the need for people to sharpen their creative thinking and relationship skills, as we move from a society where 401Ks and gold watches were rewards for long service to a free-lance-based marketplace where strong social networks and innovative thinking are essential.
Communication at the speed of light, convenience and control come to us with unprecedented ease these days, transforming the landscape of our outer lives in a thousand ways that also designed our desires and in some not-so-subtle ways are reshaping the script for a good-enough life.
"Just as technology changes beyond all recognition in the space of a single life-time," writes social epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, "so too do family structures, social life, education sexual behavior and everything else. What is at stake in the breakneck speed of social change is too important simply to leave it to wash over us like a tide about which we can do nothing. We need to understand how it works, where it is taking us, and what we can do to alter its direction when necessary."
Our homes are wired for action. Right now, Tivo tapes a program while a DVD entertains my niece on the same TV. The fax transmits, the dishwasher swishes, the Rhoumba vacuums with all its robotic precision.We have a self-grinding coffeemaker, self-regulating central air conditioning, and my personal favorite, the self-cleaning oven. Not an idle outlet in the place. And I am well aware that by the time this goes to print, some of the technology just described will already be outdated. All systems are go. That's the way life is now. Going. But the extra time we seek eludes us the way convenience and efficiency delude us. We run as much as the machines run, ever-ready batteries juiced, on the move. We can phone, fax, text or email from almost anywhere. Still, there are people in our lives right now with whom we have a great deal of trouble communicating. There are feelings about these people that sit inside us, sometimes for years, sometimes forever. And for all the social transformation technology brings, we are as hungry for love and connection, for meaning and purpose, as human beings at any other time in history. "Technology is evolving at roughly 10 million times the speed of natural evolution," writes economist Brian Arthur in "Scientific America." "For all its glitz and swagger, technology and the whole interactive, revved-up economy that goes with it, is merely an outer casing for outer selves. And these inner selves, these primate souls of ours with their ancient social ways, change slowly. Or not at all." ("Possible Futures: Creative Thinking for the Speed of Life," excerpt p. 3 -- 4)
A licensed clinical social worker, registered music therapist and certified group psychotherapist, Jude Treder-Wolff knows a thing or two about our fast-paced environment and how it affects our physical, mental and emotional well-being. With more than two decades of experience helping people as a creative arts therapist and psychotherapist, she’s seen her fair share of stressed, burned-out clients looking for ways to deal with the “speed of life.” Her solution: get creative.
Treder-Wolff’s new book, Possible Futures: Creative Thinking for the Speed of Life (May 2009, Life Stage Publications, ISBN 978-0-9799905-0-2, Paperback, $11.95), addresses the risks associated with our fast-paced, technology-driven society and explains how creativity and community will be the force that continues to fuel innovation.
A Midwesterner by birth, Treder-Wolff grew up in Berlin, Wis., and eventually moved to Milwaukee, where she obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music and music therapy, in 1981. After graduation, she worked as a creative arts therapist for St. Michael’s Medical Center, in Newark, N.J., and Gracie Square Hospital in Manhattan. In 1988, Treder-Wolff became the director of clinical services at YMCA Family Services, a community-based substance abuse prevention and treatment agency, in Long Island, N.Y. Treder-Wolff earned a Master of Social Work from State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1988.
She studied group process and group therapy at the William Alanson White Institute and is certified through The National Registry of Group Psychotherapists. She has designed and implemented training seminars for mental health agencies – including Pederson-Krag, Options for Community Living, YMCA Family Services, Suffolk County Dept. of Mental Health, among others – and organizations, such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Therapeutic Recreation Association, National Association of Social Workers, American Music Therapy Association and American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama.
Along with her husband, Treder-Wolff is in full-time private practice providing individual and group psychotherapy and addiction treatment. As president and founder of Lifestage, Inc., a training and consulting company, Treder-Wolff and her team provide seminars on professional and personal growth, health education and stress-resilience.
She has developed courses for the Summer Institute Continuing Education program at State University at Buffalo and has been published in The International Journal of Arts and Psychotherapy – for a special issue on addiction and a special issue on HIV/AIDS – Music Therapy Perspectives, Clinical Social Work and Recovery Press. She is the editor of Lives in Progress and is a leading expert on creativity and stress-resilience and has been featured in Newsday, Woman's Day and The Three Village Times.
When not doing treatment or training, Treder-Wolff enjoys fostering her personal creativity through playwriting and acting. She trained as an actor with Bay Street Theater, in Sag Harbor, N.Y., and was a playwright with the 42nd Street Collective. Treder-Wolff is an avid volunteer and has worked with organization such as Time for Teens, a nonprofit that helps teens deal with grief and loss; Habitat for Humanity, Creativity for Peace and Oxfam International. She currently resides in Smithtown, N.Y., with her husband.