Calendar – One-Off CPD Events

Calendar – One-Off CPD Events 2014-08-28T16:58:33+00:00

Feb
27
Tue
2018
Oxford: The most recent advances in interpersonal neurobiology (OTS CPD) @ OTS-Oxford Therapy Centre
Feb 27 @ 19:30 – 21:30

 

Report and Review of Allan Schore’s recent presentation "The growth-promoting role of mutual regressions in deep psychotherapy"

For several decades, Allan Schore has been known as an interdisciplinary giant, bringing together neuroscience and the affective cognitive sciences with psychoanalysis as well as developmental psychology and attachment theory. Last September he promised to offer his latest thinking, and I think he delivered on that promise. In this evening, I will present a summary of his latest formulation which includes a new appreciation of spontaneous regression and a new and comprehensive neuropsychological model of dissociative and repressive defences.

In this evening workshop, suitable for therapists from across the modalities as well as associated therapeutic and helping professions,  Michael will present and critically review the model Allan Schore presented in September 2017. A graphic summarising the key elements of the model is available in this handout. A blog post summarising the content of the evening can be found here.

About OTS

This workshop is being offered by OTS, which was set up by Justin Smith as an initiative to de-mystify psychotherapy and counselling and make it more accessible and affordable to the wider community. OTS is unique in bringing together therapists from a broad spectrum of therapeutic approaches, working together to tailor the therapy to our client’s needs and ‘match’ clients to therapists. Our idea is to create the best fit for what is going to work best for each client and maximise the ‘quality of relationship’ (which is widely recognised as a crucial factor in making therapy work). OTS also aims to make therapy more affordable, through offering effective group therapy.

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Mar
4
Sun
2018
Oxford: Allowing ourselves to be constructed and the enactment of the bad object (OTS CPD) @ OTS-Oxford Therapy Centre
Mar 4 @ 10:00 – 17:00

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Why the idea of allowing ourselves to be constructed by the client’s unconscious is a necessary ingredient in the therapeutic position if we want transformations of deeply held character patterns to become possible

The starting point for this workshop is the following assumption: if we are serious as therapists about wanting to work with ‘the unconscious’, we need to be capable of allowing ourselves to be ‘constructed’ and ‘used’ as an object (in Winnicott’s sense). However, for most of us being used as an object evokes painful and traumatic aspects of our own life story and biography. Allowing ourselves to be used as an object is difficult and it feels difficult.

But if I want the therapeutic space that I provide to invite and make room for ‘the unconscious’ (which - as Jung was quite clear about - is then not going to be restricted only to the client, but will include me as the therapist and the whole system of the therapeutic relationship), then I need to develop the capacity to allow the unconscious to construct that therapeutic space, including me as the therapist (and that includes my ‘professional’ responses as well as my ‘personal’ reactions). This is simply a consequent formulation and application of what has been a basic psychoanalytic principle for decades. An integration of humanistic and psychoanalytic traditions would crucially need to include this principle.

Being constructed is as complex as the psyche itself and it means we can become all kinds of ‘objects'. But for most of us, the crucial sticking points are becoming the ‘bad object’ and/or the ‘idealised object’.

The implications of this principle have been clearly understood and formulated in psychoanalysis: it means we will at times be perceived and experienced - in the transference - as the ‘bad’ wounding object.
However, traditional psychoanalysts could remain somewhat protected from the impact, pressures and inevitable countertransference disturbances which constitute the lived reality of that principle by an underlying one-person psychology stance and a degree of disembodiment manifest in psychoanalytic technique.

As soon as we embrace the spontaneous embodied mutuality of two-person psychology, and the notion of enactment, we are more exposed and vulnerable in the therapeutic position. Beyond being perceived and experienced as the ‘bad’ wounding object in the transference, within a two-person psychology paradigm it means we will be caught in enacting that object, i.e. becoming that object – thinking, feeling, behaving and – crucially – therapeutically intervening like and as that object. That is an altogether more intense experience, which implicates more of us more comprehensively (please don’t broadcast this publicly and indiscriminately! - it’s not an attractive proposition, but very helpful for practising therapists, especially those identifying as humanistic and integrative).

In a nutshell:

• inviting the unconscious requires the principle of allowing ourselves to be constructed

• which in turn in an embodied two-person psychology paradigm requires that we embrace the full bodymind enactment of the wounding dynamic.

At this point in the development of our profession, most available counselling and psychotherapy training does not comprehensively prepare us for that experience. As our community includes many recently qualified therapists, we have made it a priority to explore it together. This experiential CPD day is meant to be an introduction and exploration of the principle, and how it fits and can be included in your own way of working.

For detailed background to this topic, see this blog post.

Inevitably, we bring our whole being, conscious and unconscious, personal and professional to this exploration, including our experience of our own therapy. In engaging in that exploration, we will want to be mindful both of the potential and the risks, our limitations and curiosity, our willingness and our boundaries within the context of the OTS community of practitioners.

Mar
23
Fri
2018
Athens: Two-chair Work – a creative experiential technique @ Athens
Mar 23 @ 10:00 – 17:00

An Open Day to experience, demonstrate and practice this transformational tool

A Friday workshop in Athens, for anybody interested in this powerful therapeutic technique (clients and therapists)

When it comes to shifting the focus of therapeutic interaction from 'talking about' to 'exploring the experience', there are few techniques more useful than 'empty-chair' or 'two-chair' work (this applies to supervision as well as therapy).

The 'empty-chair' technique or 'two-chair work' is one of the best-known and widely-used humanistic methods. The technique invites/allows the client to embody the felt reality of particular relationship difficulties they feel caught in and bring them to life (rather than ‘talking about’). This can take the shape of psychodrama or role-play of the dialogue with actual others, or it can simply be an externalising and enacting of internal, fantasised or dreamt dynamics.

One of the advantages of the technique is that it can be applied fluidly to both external and internal relationships, often helping the client to not only see, but feel the parallels and connections between internal and external ways of relating which are at the root of what perpetuates unsatisfying, polarised or destructive relationships.

We invite you to this open workshop.

For more detailed inofrmation about the background, format and content of the workshop, download the leaflet.

 

Mar
24
Sat
2018
Athens: The transformative potential of 2-chair work and its pitfalls
Mar 24 @ 10:00 – Mar 25 @ 18:00

Solutions to the 2-chair technique's recurring pitfalls

Anticipating the recurrent pitfalls of the 2-chair technique and making therapeutic and transformational use of them

When it comes to shifting the focus of therapeutic interaction from 'talking about' to 'exploring the experience', there are few techniques more useful than 'empty-chair' or 'two-chair' work (this applies to supervision as well as therapy).
However, when therapists risk using the technique, it often does not produce the intended or intuited results. Having started with what seemed like a burning, vibrant issue, the spark gets lost, and the interaction ‘goes flat’ or starts going round in circles.

From many years of using the technique myself, as well as supervising it, I have concluded there are some built-in recurring pitfalls which we can anticipate and prepare for; when understood and addressed, these pitfalls can actually enhance our use of the technique and make it more elegant and effective.

This weekend workshop follows on from the previous day's workshop (on the Friday), to help therapists deepen their use of 2-chair work. These two CPD days are designed to engender both detailed knowledge and skill as well as confidence, whatever level of experience you are currently bringing to this type of work.

I am expecting that in terms of the nitty-gritty detail of technique (what you actually do and say as a therapist and how and in what sequence), these days will be amongst the most specific and useful you will ever do. In terms of this particular technique, it's as close to a 'recipe book' or ‘manual’ of therapeutic intervention as is feasible when what we are really interested in is the aliveness and spontaneity of the client-therapist interaction.

The 'empty-chair' technique or 'two-chair work' is one of the best-known and widely-used humanistic methods. The technique invites/allows the client to embody the felt reality of particular relationship difficulties they feel caught in and bring them to life (rather than ‘talking about’). This can take the shape of psychodrama or role-play of the dialogue with actual others, or it can simply be an externalising and enacting of internal, fantasised or dreamt dynamics.

One of the advantages of the technique is that it can be applied fluidly to both external and internal relationships, often helping the client to not only see, but feel the parallels and connections between internal and external ways of relating which are at the root of what perpetuates unsatisfying, polarised or destructive relationships.

Undoubtedly, the technique has many therapeutic uses and benefits, and can facilitate powerful, transformative experiences. But when therapists attempt to use it, they frequently report in supervision that it did not work, that it 'went flat', or that the client self-consciously refused to 'perform'.

How can we anticipate and deal with these recurring obstacles?

Rather than setting ourselves (and the client) up for the pressure of the technique having to produce a 'good' outcome, let's understand the inherent principles of the technique and how the dialogue is actually bound to 'go flat'. Based on that understanding, we can then pay attention to how it does go flat when it does and make that awareness useful for the particular dialogue we have set up in the first place. This kind of stance takes care of the usual ‘self-consciousness’ or 'performance anxiety' associated with the use of the technique (for both client and therapist), and helps therapists maintain the exploratory intention inherent in the approach.

Although the technique arises from within a Gestalt paradigm and fits and belongs with the principles of that holistic approach and its underlying field theory, it has been taken up and is being used by a wide variety of other therapeutic schools, often without practitioners even knowing about its origins in Gestalt. But in order to address the inherent pitfalls and difficulties of the technique, the perspectives and paradigms of other approaches are very useful, especially body-oriented and psychoanalytic perspectives, but also, for example, NLP and CBT. Because I bring this broad-spectrum perspective to the technique, the workshop should be suitable for practitioners from across the modalities and orientations.

For more detailed information about the background, format and content of the weekend workshop, download the leaflet.

 

Apr
21
Sat
2018
Oxford: What do we mean by ‘relational’? (OTS CPD) @ OTS-Oxford Therapy Centre
Apr 21 @ 10:00 – 17:00

This 1-day workshop is an opportunity to explore in detail a topic which Michael gave a three-hour talk on in October 2016.  Since then he has refined that presentation and made it more accessible.  You can read a detailed description about the background of the topic here ...

Over the last 15 years or so, relational perspectives have had a significant impact across the field of psychotherapy. However, the wider its increasing influence has spread, the less clear it has become what we actually mean by ‘relational’. The default common denominator would be the recognition that in therapy it's the relationship between client and therapist that matters, and that the quality of that relationship is a significant indicator of outcome.

Continue reading on the dedicated page ...

 

About OTS

These workshops are being offered by OTS, which was set up by Justin Smith as an initiative to de-mystify psychotherapy and counselling and make it more accessible and affordable to the wider community. OTS is unique in bringing together therapists from a broad spectrum of therapeutic approaches, working together to tailor the therapy to our client’s needs and ‘match’ clients to therapists. Our idea is to create the best fit for what is going to work best for each client and maximise the ‘quality of relationship’ (which is widely recognised as a crucial factor in making therapy work). OTS also aims to make therapy more affordable, through offering effective group therapy.

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May
13
Sun
2018
TRS: London – What do we mean by ‘relational’? – A Relational School Study Day
 with Michael Soth @ Stillpoint Spaces
May 13 @ 10:00 – 16:30
TRS: London - What do we mean by ‘relational’? - A Relational School Study Day
 with Michael Soth @ Stillpoint Spaces | England | United Kingdom

Organised by TRS (The Relational School)

Michael is a TRS (The Relational School) member and has drawn from Martha Stark’s seminal 1999 book 'Modes of Therapeutic Action’, Lavinia Gomez’s work on object relations and the tension between humanistic and psychoanalytic traditions as well as Petruska Clarkson’s 5 modalities of therapeutic relating to develop a broad-spectrum integration of therapeutic traditions as part of the relational project. For this study day Michael will present and explore with us his particular journey since his own experience of a ‘relational turn’ in the mid-1990’s.

What do we mean by ‘relational’ psychotherapy?

Over the last 15 years or so, relational perspectives have had a significant impact across the fields of psychotherapy. However, the wider its increasing influence has spread, the less clear it has become what we actually mean by ‘relational’. The default common denominator would be the recognition that in therapy it's the relationship between client and therapist that matters, and that the quality of that relationship is a significant indicator of outcome.

However, whilst there is quite a lot of agreement that the therapeutic relationship matters, this apparent consensus breaks down at the first hurdle: there is no such level of agreement as to what actually constitutes quality of relationship. On the contrary: there is a tendency for the traditional approaches to define ‘therapeutic relating’ predominantly within their own frame of reference, taking their own paradigm of relating for granted. It is, therefore, not generally accepted that 100 years of psychotherapy have given us a diversity of distinct notions of what kind of relating is to be considered ‘therapeutic’. The common ground of ‘relationality’ is a negative distinction from classical one-person psychology and ‘medical model’ non-relationality, but beyond that it is unclear whether relating means in Gomez’s terms being ‘alongside’ as an ally or ‘opposite’ as a relational other. And then what kind of other: positive, nurturing and reparative or authentic/dialogical or transferential other? And in amongst all that, what happens with the ‘bad’ object, and who relates to it how?

A multiplicity of diverse, contradictory and complementary relational spaces

Unless we take into account these different and contradictory notions of relatedness - or in the terms of Petruska Clarkson’s seminal contribution from the early 1990's: the different relational modalities we now find in existence across the field - what we mean by ‘relational’ will remain confused and confusing. It clearly means very different things to different therapists, without - however - these differences being sufficiently acknowledged or investigated.

The therapist's internal conflict - processing the countertransference in terms of tensions and pulls between different relational modalities

Understanding how the therapist's internal conflict relates to the client's inner world - in psychoanalytic terms: processing the countertransference and how it interlocks with the transference - can be profoundly helped by understanding how the therapist is being pulled between equally valid, but contradictory and conflicting relational modalities. This understanding, i.e. how the therapist is internally affected by the intersubjective dynamic, turns Petruska Clarkson's theory of relational modalities from an abstract tool of psychotherapy integration into a clinically useful tool moment-to-moment.

This is the essence of Michael's "Diamond Model of the relational therapeutic space": seeing the relational modalities not as some range of helpful stances which the therapist consciously chooses between (one at a time), but considering all the modalities as going on all the time (as a dynamic, systemic whole). The conflicts and pulls between different relational modalities can then be reflected upon and engaged in as manifestations (and enactments) of the unconscious co-constructed dynamic.

The essential conflict: object-relating versus inter(subject)-relating

This day will be an introduction to Michael's diamond model. His starting point will be the perennial and underlying tension (and often: polarisation) between object-relating and inter(subject)-relating in the therapeutic space: the tension between 'using' each other as objects on the one hand (I-it relating, which much of the humanistic field is biased against because of its objectifying and exploitative connotations, but which Winnicott has a lot of positive and developmental things to say about) and subject-subject relating (mutual recognition or I-I relating, as advocated by the humanistic and modern psychoanalytic traditions). When we can validate both as potentially transformative and necessary ingredients in the therapeutic space, and recognise the tension between them as essential to the therapeutic endeavor (a tension not to be reduced, resolved or short-circuited ideologically, but to be entered into in each unique client-therapist relationship), a multiplicity of relational spaces – contradictory and complementary, forming a complex dynamic whole – can be seen to arise from that tension. Michael proposes his ‘diamond model’ as a map that can help therapists process their conflicted (countertransference) experience when involved in layers of multiple enactment.

Booking tickets: tbc

 

Jun
17
Sun
2018
Bristol CPD Workshop: Relational dynamics in body-oriented psychotherapy @ Windmill Hill City Farm
Jun 17 @ 10:00 – 16:30

Organised by the Association for Core Process Psychotherapy:

This follow-up workshop is another ideal opportunity for an introduction to Michael’s work, and specifically how he approaches the integration of the paradigm clash between the humanistic and psychodynamic traditions. It is an affordable workshop on a crucial topic, as many integrative therapists struggle to integrate these paradigms rather than oscillate between them, both in their work and in supervision.

Following on from a first workshop on the topic in June 2017, the Association for Core Process Psychotherapy is organising a second workshop, to continue and deepen the theme. It will be possible for you to join this day without having attended the first workshop - in preparation you will have access to the teaching materials from the June workshop. Most participants will be a Core Process therapists, which will give the day an emphasis on the body-mind and psychosomatic connection, and how attention to the two bodies in the therapeutic relationship (or better: the two ‘bodyminds’) can provide the experiential foundation for the integration of paradigms.

Exploring the tension between ‘authentic’ and ‘transference’ relating

In the lineage of Body Psychotherapy, we come across a set of diverse and to some extent confusing and contradictory assumptions as to what we mean by therapeutic relating and the therapeutic relationship. On the whole, the whole range of body-oriented work as practiced today clearly belongs to the humanistic tradition, with its emphasis on authentic/dialogical and empathic/reparative relating. This sits alongside influences from the psychoanalytic tradition, notably the work of Reich and his ideas about working with transference, as well as his quasi-medical and scientific attitude to treatment (which he shared with Freud). These different paradigms of relating are quite difficult to integrate and bring together, as they are based on polarised attitudes and stances in terms of one-person and two-person psychologies.

That raises the question as to what we mean by being ‘relational', especially in recent years, when that notion has become increasingly fashionable, and is in danger of becoming diluted. As psychotherapists working in the body-oriented traditions, we have the potential to bring a more substantial, embodied and complex notion of relating to the talking therapies.

This workshop is an opportunity to explore your own experience of the tensions between the polarised humanistic and psychoanalytic traditions, and how you integrate them. This tension hinges around the essential conflict between ‘authentic relating’ and 'working with the transference' - two principles which many of us find equally valid and want to equally do justice to in our work.

It has been understood and acknowledged for decades that any direct and directive work with the body, especially if it includes touch, intensifies the transference. However, psychoanalysts have contested that by using directive body-oriented interventions, body-oriented therapists are minimising and sidestepping the transference. In fact, all therapies that are relying exclusively on an empathic, attuned, heartfelt connection are open to that psychoanalytic challenge (keeping things too cosy, encouraging regression or over-dependency, avoiding the negative transference) and the question of whether this is in the client's best interests.

When our intention is to work with the client’s ‘character’, i.e. with all the embodied levels of developmental injury, across the whole bodymind, how do these different traditions and paradigms of relating get in each other's way or complement each other and how might they create an integrative synergy?

Recommended preparatory reading:

Relating To and With the Objectified Body: This was my first public attempt at spelling out some of the difficulties and pitfalls of Body Psychotherapy, as I had increasingly become aware of them in the late 1980's and the early 1990's. From being securely ensconced in the body-oriented subculture, it took years to recognise and formulate the hidden 'medical model' assumptions, the implicit idealisation of the body, the simple reversal of mind-over-body into body-over-mind and how I was in the habit of turning my therapeutic position into an "enemy of the client's ego". Here I state for the first time how it is perfectly possible for Body Psychotherapy to exacerbate the body/mind split whilst intending to 'heal' it.

Humanistic or psychodynamic - what is the difference and do we have to make a choice ? by Lavinia Gomez: This brilliant and helpfully clarifying article by Lavinia Gomez tackles the difficult theme 'humanistic or psychodynamic' in a non-dogmatic and fairly comprehensive fashion. Lavinia poses some challenging questions, especially for integrative therapists: how free and fluid can we allow ourselves to be in terms of combining, mixing and matching different therapeutic traditions, and what are the possible negative effects of switching approaches, especially in terms of the client's sense of containment? - This paper is essential reading for this workshop, as is my response at the time:

Is it Possible to Integrate Humanistic Techniques into a Transference-Countertransference Perspective? (2004): Whilst agreeing with Lavinia's challenges to the integrative project and the mixing of humanistic and psychodynamic paradigms, 
I argue against one of Lavinia's central conclusions, based on a different interpretation of what we might mean by 'containment' and 'enactment'.

What therapeutic hope for a subjective mind in an objectified body? This is my first attempt at formulating the 'relational turn' in Body Psychotherapy, and taking the integration of humanistic and psychodynamic paradigms further. This is the abstract: Our modern attempt to re-include the body in psychotherapy – as necessary and promising as it is – brings with it the inevitable danger that we import the culturally dominant objectifying construction of the body into a field which may represent one of the last bastions of subjectivity, authenticity and intimacy in an increasingly virtual world. Edited from my presentation to the UKCP conference 'About A Body’, this paper addresses the question how embodied subjectivity – Winnicott’s “indwelling of the psyche in the soma” - can be found within a relational matrix pervaded by disembodiment and self-objectification.