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A series of open evenings (conversations as well as question and answer sessions) to help you find your way through the maze of the psychological therapies
The psychological therapies are a minefield, and very confusing for the layperson. What are the differences between psychology, CBT, counselling, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis (and many, many others)? Even the therapists themselves are not always clear about it, so how can an ordinary person?
This series of free events gives you an opportunity to join the conversation and ask all the questions you did not know whom to ask. No previous experience is necessary.
For a detailed workshop programme, including topics and issues to be addressed, see our dedicated page.
As an experienced integrative therapist and trainer and an OTS Director, Michael Soth has a reputation for presenting an appreciation of all the various disciplines and approaches that comprise the field of the psychological therapies. In this profession nobody can be entirely impartial, but we will give it a good go - we will at least approximate a sympathetic understanding and validation of the diverse approaches, which the field has to offer.
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.
Michael & Justin will offer these events with the help of OTS therapists who will assist them in creating a safe and conducive atmosphere. It is likely that we will spend some of the time in smaller groups, to give everybody a chance to speak and get involved, if they want to.
About the timing & scheduling of these events:
Please email us to let us know which of the events listed below you are interested in, and which of the times and venues indicated would be possible for you. As we are offering a number of events and want to make sure they will all be well attended, we will schedule them in collaboration with everybody who expresses an interest in attending them.
We hope to be able to have the first free events taking place in February 2018
If you live in the area and want to join, contact the director of OTS, Justin Smith via the website.
A FREE CPD workshop for counsellors and psychotherapists with Michael Soth
Workshop description: TBC
If you live in the area and want to join OTS, contact the director, Justin Smith via the website.
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