Events for ALL Counsellors & Psychotherapists

Events for ALL Counsellors & Psychotherapists 2014-08-28T16:24:06+00:00

Jan
16
Tue
2018
Bristol Monthly Small Supervision Groups @ Fulcrum House
Jan 16 @ 13:30 – 15:30

These small supervision groups run on a regular monthly basis at Fulcrum House in Bristol. There are three groups with 4 participants each during each Tuesday (11.20-13.20; 13.30-15.30; 15.45-17.45). From January 2018 there are 3 places available in the second group - please contact Michael for details. The cost is £55 for each 2-hour group.

download the leaflet

Dates for 2018:

16/1/18; 20/2/18; 20/3/18; 24/4/18; 15/5/18; 19/6/18; 17/7/18

These groups have been running for the last few years, and there is a consistent core of participants, but some re-arrangements have meant that 3 places are now becoming available (in Group 2).

The monthly frequency of these groups means they are not really a replacement for ongoing regular supervision, but are being used by participants as part of their continuing professional development, to deepen and enhance their practice. The diversity of modalities, orientations and styles provides a rich learning environment.

Michael's supervision style is integrative, so therapists from all modalities and orientations are welcome, and will find plenty of opportunities to learn from the diversity within the group.
Michael pays attention to parallel process on all levels (see his presentation on 'Fractal Self' at CONFER for how he has extended the notion of 'parallel process', for the purposes of supervision, as well as an organising principle for therapy generally), including how the client-therapist dynamic is picked up by the group and reflected within it. He is welcoming of experiential exploration of 'charged moments', via roleplay, within participants' need and willingness for exposure in the group.

He will focus on speaking in the language of each supervisee's approach, but an exploration of transference-countertransference dynamics is likely to be included, unless a supervisee explicitly declines this. In his approach to supervision, Michael pays attention to the embodied, non-verbal communications and unconscious processes, how they oscillate between working alliance and enactment, and how the therapist's habitual stance/position becomes involved in these conflicts and tensions. Whilst the exploration of the therapist's relational entanglement is an important aspect of the supervision, the focus is on the deepening of the client's process, and the therapist's continuing learning process. Michael believes that by embracing whole-heartedly the difficulties, paradoxes, shadow aspects and complexities of the therapeutic process, therapists stand the best chance of doing justice to their clients, as well as their own authority, effectiveness and satisfaction as a practitioner.

Jan
27
Sat
2018
Exeter: Integrative Trauma Therapy – Weekend Workshop with Morit Heitzler @ The Wheelhouse
Jan 27 @ 10:00 – Jan 28 @ 17:00

An Embodied Integration of Trauma Therapy Approaches

If some of your trauma clients show resistance, manifest stuckness or get caught in hidden dissociation or re-traumatisation dynamics, or you encounter unexpected ruptures, impasses or enactments, these workshops are for you.

CPD Training Weekend with Morit Heitzler

This weekend is designed for practising counsellors and therapists who have some previous training and experience with trauma work. It is best described as an 'intermediate' workshop, for therapists who have completed basic training in one of the modern trauma therapies: Somatic Trauma Therapy (Babette Rothschild), Somatic Experiencing (Peter Levine), Sensorimotor Therapy (Pat Ogden), EMDR, EFT etc.

Is this workshop for me?

If you have trained and have been practising such trauma therapies for a while, you are likely to have encountered clients with varying degrees of receptivity, producing a mixture of results and creating a variety of problems. You may also have questions regarding the application of theory to practice.

Many of these problems and questions can usefully be addressed through an integration of trauma therapies, each of which have their special strengths and weaknesses.

The relational subtleties underpinning the working alliance

Although many of these modern therapies claim to be comprehensive, often presenting themselves as applicable to all kinds of trauma, this is not what we find in practice. Human beings present complexities that no protocol or manual can legislate for, especially when it comes to the – often unconscious - internal web of trauma reactions and associations in the psyche. It is in these very individual responses to the therapy and to the therapist that complications arise which are not catered for by theory and technique.

The client reads – or mis-reads – the therapist’s facial expressions, their speed, timing and intonation, their gestures and postures, and scans these for the warmth, professionalism, acceptance, knowledge or encouragement they might contain, or conversely for the coldness, lack of care, judgement, shame or impatience which the client may have come to expect from others.

It is the client’s subliminal reading of such cues and messages which infuses the therapeutic interaction with relational dimensions that can make or break the treatment, but that are not necessarily part of the manual. It is these all-too-human subtleties which either provide a foundation for a productive working alliance, or create doubt and ambivalence, or lead to outright ruptures, regardless of how competent the practitioner, or how appropriate the treatment procedure in and of itself.

Do you experience these obstacles with your clients?

If some of your trauma clients show resistance, manifest stuckness or get caught in hidden dissociation or re-traumatisation dynamics, or you encounter unexpected ruptures, impasses or enactments, these workshops are for you.

If some of your trauma clients do not respond well or only very slowly to the kind of approach that you know works well with other clients, what are the factors that can account for these differences?

If some of your trauma clients are having negative reactions against you or the treatment, or you detect that an atmosphere of mistrust, shame or scepticism interferes with the work, how can we tackle these obstacles?

Why do we need an integration of trauma therapies?

Trauma therapies tend to fall into a few recogniseable categories along a spectrum of the therapist’s relational position, in terms of they define themselves and their public presentation:

  • some of the new trauma therapies define themselves as treatments, with clear protocols and procedures, administered by a knowledgeable expert; here the therapist is understood - by both parties - as an authoritative and directive doctor figure, requiring cooperation;
  • in some other therapies the atmosphere is more oriented towards healing and recovery through the therapist’s nurturing presence; here the therapist is positioned in a more motherly role, still an expert or an authority, but with an emphasis on feeling and support.

Because trauma makes us feel helpless and regressed, the therapist taking a motherly or fatherly re-parenting role can be very helpful and often this is necessary to establish a working alliance at all. However, developmental trauma makes any kind of re-parenting task more complicated, as the psychoanalytic tradition teaches us. Even in single event trauma, the internalised drama triangle of victim, persecutor, rescuer can become constellated in the therapy, and complicates what might otherwise be a more straightforward helping or healing relationship.

We cannot take it for granted that the client will experience the therapist’s authority as benign. This has serious implications for the working alliance and for the success of the treatment. When the therapist’s authoritative interventions and directions are received by the client through the lens of transferential complications, the methods and techniques of the various trauma therapies cannot be expected to work in the same way that in principle we know they can. Then the same techniques that we can usually so powerfully rely on are not sufficient to overcome stuckness, resistance, dissociation and avoidance.

It is then that a relational integration of different therapeutic approaches and perspectives becomes increasingly necessary and helpful. The different traditions and perspectives, and their different relational underpinnings, complement and cross-fertilise each other in a way which gives us as therapists more flexibility, robustness and resilience. This can make a big difference to the effectiveness of our work.

Are the new somatic trauma and energy therapies suitable for complex and developmental trauma?

Over recent years, the new somatic trauma therapies and the energy therapies have been extending their reach beyond clearly defined single-event trauma later in life to include early and developmental trauma. This extension has been driven forward on the assumption that the same principles apply to all trauma and to all trauma therapy. However, increasingly we find that this is a flawed assumption: it hinges on the question whether the client has a healthy, non-traumatised personality structure in the first place that will allow them to form a trusting attachment to a therapist. Without that bond, we cannot assume the client’s readiness and willingness to receive the therapist’s interventions, however competent and effective these are in principle.

In complex trauma, the issue of transference becomes unavoidable, as the client is likely to interact with the therapist via their traumatising early blueprint for relating. The client then perceives and experiences the therapist through the lens of that blueprint. This tends to complicate the working alliance and can undermine the therapeutic process in a way that is not sufficiently attended to in the recently developed trauma therapies. Therefore, early developmental trauma constitutes a qualitative difference to single-event trauma. Psychodynamic approaches have, of course, always appreciated the transference dimension, but have not worked sufficiently through the body.

Integrating somatic-embodied and psychodynamic perspectives

Therefore, an integration between somatic and embodied approaches on the one hand and psychodynamic perspectives on the other is becoming crucial in the field of trauma therapy. We increasingly understand how even clearly circumscribed single-event trauma can trigger early developmental trauma unconsciously and complicate and de-rail treatment, even when on the surface it appears fairly straightforward.

Psychodynamic and other ‘talking therapy’ practitioners can benefit from the somatic therapies in situations where clients’ reflective capacities are limited, as language and other cognitive functions are impaired by unconscious or unspoken trauma. The client’s mind is then not fully available for interpretation, collaborative exploration or associative play, as traumatic freezing and dissociation are dominant, and talking therapy doesn’t reach deeply enough into the client’s experience.

Treatment and the Relational Container

If as trauma therapists we can combine powerful methods and somatic techniques on the one hand and an awareness of the working alliance and the client’s reaction against therapeutic authority on the other, our capacity to co-create the kind of relational container necessary for the work takes a quantum leap. To some extent this also depends on the therapist’s awareness of their own body and embodiment, as the relational container depends strongly on ‘right-brain-to-right-brain’ attunement. This is only available to the therapist who is connected with her own subtle and subliminal physical and neurological responses.

In her practice Morit has found that the effectiveness of both EMDR and somatic trauma therapy interventions crucially depends on the timing of pre-reflexive communication, and the synchronisation between the client’s and therapist’s autonomous nervous systems. The difference between an intervention which elicits a relieving release of feeling on the one hand, or a suggestion which triggers in the client a re-traumatising implosion on the other may only be a couple of seconds. The therapist wants to be so attuned to the intensifying arousal in the client’s bodymind that they can offer an expressive and interactively regulating channel for it before it can tip into an internal roller coaster. Intervene too early, and the therapist is seen as anxious and over-controlling; on the other hand, intervene too late and the client’s autonomic process has – lemming-like – taken itself over a cliff into a traumatic pattern. This kind of attunement is only possible if the therapist is sufficiently attuned to her own neurophysiological and vegetative processes that she can micro-track her own arousal and shut-down.

However, many therapists – especially when their initial training was in one of the ‘talking therapies’ - are too habitually disembodied themselves and remain largely unaware of the client’s - and more so their own - subliminal and energetic processes to create that kind of moment-to-moment bond and responsiveness. As a result, treatments tend to lack spontaneity and significant moments are missed, giving the client a sense that they are indeed being ‘treated’, but in a somewhat formulaic fashion. Fortunately, in Morit’s experience, many therapists can learn quite quickly to extend their usual emotional sensitivities into the somatic and energetic realm.

The subjective and relational foundations of ‘treatment’

However appropriate the theoretical models and practical techniques are that we use in trauma work, these are only as effective as the pre- and non-verbal bonds, the reciprocal emotional attunement and the mutual intersubjective understanding which the two human bodyminds in the therapeutic relationship can co-create. It’s the meeting between these two idiosyncratic, unique subjectivities which – for better or for worse – provides the foundation for ‘treatment’. By ignoring – or attempting to remove - the unpredictable subjective human factor from treatment, we destroy the essence of what makes therapy work. Of course, the therapist’s identity is not free from its own wounds and traumas and shadow aspects – how can therapy be made to work when all we have at hand is the frail, imperfect instrument of the therapist’s human self?

The therapist cannot be – in fact, for attunement and mutual identification to work: must not be – invulnerable, ‘all sorted’, plain clinically effective, administering the same uniform treatment to each client, whatever the manual says. However, the therapist’s non-objective subjectivity does engender all kinds of relational vicissitudes which we need to find ways of apprehending: how do we monitor and bring awareness to the intersubjective mess co-created when the arrow of the client’s wounding seeks and finds and hits the therapist’s wounding?

It is here that differentiated bodymind awareness takes us beyond mental speculation into a realm of embodied experience where we have a whole realm of otherwise ignored and neglected information that makes the complex task of tracking ‘right-brain-to-right-brain’ attunement less impossible.

Vicarious traumatisation and the therapist’s own bodymind

The recognition that trauma therapy is hazardous for the practitioner is now widely established, but it is much less clear what we can do about it. Unlike medical practitioners who tend to learn to dissociate from their patients and the pain they encounter, we do not want to lose our relational sensitivity. But unless we can learn to recognise the symptoms, effects and emotional load of the therapeutic position, we cannot effectively process and digest the bodymind impact we experience through exposure to our clients’ trauma. Understanding somatic resonance, projective identification and evacuation of dissociated trauma states helps us become aware of the consequences of unconscious processes in the therapeutic relationship, and the conflicts we are likely to absorb in our work.

Tracking and processing these unconscious dynamics, we gain precious insight into our client’s inner world and their internal relationships, which provide the background context in which recovery and healing occur. This allows us to understand more deeply how current and past trauma interlink and generate protective mechanisms which block and slow down treatment.

About the workshop facilitator:

Morit has been developing an integrative, embodied and relational approach to trauma therapy for the last 20 years. She began to encounter these issues in her practice long before they became widely apparent, and engaged with these dilemmas at the root of trauma therapy in a way which has helped her forge a robust integration. Over the years, she has given many presentations which address transference-countertransference dynamics in trauma work, and the dangers and transformative potential of destructive enactments. She is known for using her own body and embodiment as a resource in surviving such enactments and turning them into deeper understanding of her client’s inner world as well as the therapeutic process. This perspective now underpins her supervision of trauma therapists and sheds light on common ruptures, stuckness and failures of treatment, especially cases of inadvertent re-traumatisation.

Feb
20
Tue
2018
Bristol Monthly Small Supervision Groups @ Fulcrum House
Feb 20 @ 13:30 – 15:30

These small supervision groups run on a regular monthly basis at Fulcrum House in Bristol. There are three groups with 4 participants each during each Tuesday (11.20-13.20; 13.30-15.30; 15.45-17.45). From January 2018 there are 3 places available in the second group - please contact Michael for details. The cost is £55 for each 2-hour group.

download the leaflet

Dates for 2018:

16/1/18; 20/2/18; 20/3/18; 24/4/18; 15/5/18; 19/6/18; 17/7/18

These groups have been running for the last few years, and there is a consistent core of participants, but some re-arrangements have meant that 3 places are now becoming available (in Group 2).

The monthly frequency of these groups means they are not really a replacement for ongoing regular supervision, but are being used by participants as part of their continuing professional development, to deepen and enhance their practice. The diversity of modalities, orientations and styles provides a rich learning environment.

Michael's supervision style is integrative, so therapists from all modalities and orientations are welcome, and will find plenty of opportunities to learn from the diversity within the group.
Michael pays attention to parallel process on all levels (see his presentation on 'Fractal Self' at CONFER for how he has extended the notion of 'parallel process', for the purposes of supervision, as well as an organising principle for therapy generally), including how the client-therapist dynamic is picked up by the group and reflected within it. He is welcoming of experiential exploration of 'charged moments', via roleplay, within participants' need and willingness for exposure in the group.

He will focus on speaking in the language of each supervisee's approach, but an exploration of transference-countertransference dynamics is likely to be included, unless a supervisee explicitly declines this. In his approach to supervision, Michael pays attention to the embodied, non-verbal communications and unconscious processes, how they oscillate between working alliance and enactment, and how the therapist's habitual stance/position becomes involved in these conflicts and tensions. Whilst the exploration of the therapist's relational entanglement is an important aspect of the supervision, the focus is on the deepening of the client's process, and the therapist's continuing learning process. Michael believes that by embracing whole-heartedly the difficulties, paradoxes, shadow aspects and complexities of the therapeutic process, therapists stand the best chance of doing justice to their clients, as well as their own authority, effectiveness and satisfaction as a practitioner.

Feb
22
Thu
2018
Oxford: All About Therapy … (OTS Public Workshops 2018)
Feb 22 @ 19:30 – 21:30

OTS_header

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.

Presenter:

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.

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.

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.

Feb
24
Sat
2018
Brighton: The Body Speaks – 1-day Conference @ Brighthelm Centre
Feb 24 @ 10:00 – 17:00

A conference with presentations by Margaret Landale, Ewa Robertson & Michael Soth

Embodied Conversations in Psychotherapy

The rise of body-oriented approaches to psychotherapy has seen the discipline shift from being the kooky poor relation of psychoanalysis in the 1970s and 80s, to a vital component in the therapeutic understanding of all therapists over the course of the last 20 years or so.

An increased understanding and appreciation of neuroscience alongside the development of effective approaches to treating trauma have shown that being able to work effectively with embodied presentations and communications will increase our effectiveness as therapists and offer greater and safer choices for our clients and patients, particularly for those who are struggling with traumatic experiences or somatic symptoms.

In this one-day conference with three leading experts in the field of body-mind psychotherapy - Margaret Landale, Ewa Robertson, and Michael Soth - we will explore ways in which to attune to the embodied presence of both ourselves and our clients and how to facilitate body-mind communication and dialogue. There will be particular attention paid in our final presentation of the day to the skills required by non-body psychotherapists who might wish to respond to embodied moments that occur in the process of talking therapy. A Q&A Panel Discussion will round off the day.

 

Michael's presentation: Techniques for expanding talking therapy into bodymind process

Even the best therapeutic intervention can only be as good as the client's receptivity to it, and that is not mainly a left-brain issue. Whether a therapist's words 'land' in the client is not only a question of their content and meaning. Whether or not a therapist's response is being received gets determined, largely pre-reflexively, by the client's whole bodymind system, and that depends interpersonally on the 'felt sense' of the working alliance. Readiness for change (i.e. neuroplasticity) occurs at the edge of the window of tolerance (which Michael will introduce as having both intra-psychic and intersubjective dimensions). Practically, this often boils down to charged moments of heightened affect when the working alliance is in crisis and enactments are manifesting.

As a therapist, how do you 'catch' and make use of these moments that are characterised by spontaneous bodymind processes, which occur between client and therapist before, alongside and in spite of left-brain reflections and words?

In this presentation Michael will focus on the principles of embodied- relational practice, not so much in terms of body-oriented techniques that can be used to deliberately pursue heightened affect, but mostly in terms of embodied ways of being and working in those critical moments that arise spontaneously as part of the normal talking interaction between client and therapist. Rather than grafting new 'body techniques' onto their existing style and practice, the aim of this presentation is to help therapists to become more deeply embodied in moments of crisis and to craft spontaneously and creatively embodying interventions from within enactments.

Mar
1
Thu
2018
OTS-Oxford: Couple Workshops @ Oxford Therapy Centre
Mar 1 @ 19:30 – 21:30

A series of public workshops for couples

This series of evenings and day workshops is designed to give space to you as a couple. We invite you to invest in your relationship. In our culture that’s a rare opportunity – normally we expect ourselves to just get on, by virtue of being supposedly loving, cooperative, committed adults. But that’s an unrealistic, neglectful expectation: your relationship cannot thrive on that assumption of goodwill alone - it needs care, time and awareness, like a tree that needs tending if you want it to grow.

Generally speaking, as couples, we seem to lack the basic communication skills and psychological understanding required to make love last. They are not taught in school or anywhere else, and without them, many couples suffer or survive on scraps and compromise. As you may have noticed: a good relationship does not fall into our laps – sustainable love needs active attention.

Where do you find the psychological tools to support the growth and deepening of your relationship?

The field of therapy has rich sources of knowledge, understanding and tools that can support you as a couple. Therapy has many ideas and explanations for what goes wrong and what is needed to put things right. We want to make these sources accessible to you, so you can make informed choices and become robust in your loving as a couple.

To reach as many couples as possible, we have made these workshops especially affordable.

Michael will offer these events with the help of OTS couple therapists who will assist him 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.

There is a maximum of 16 places available on each event.

OTS Couple Workshop Series 1

When the honeymoon is over …

An evening/1-day workshop for couples – with Michael Soth

“You are not the same person that I fell in love with!”

This statement could be an appreciation rather than an accusation – it could be an appreciation of how your partner has grown and has continued to change alongside you. After all, just imagine the nightmare if your partner were to remain fixed and static whilst life moves on around us!

Usually, however, that statement is the beginning of a painful conversation, and for some couples the beginning of the end. Feeling disappointed and betrayed usually goes both ways, with both partners feeling let down by the other in different, but equally hurtful ways.

During the honeymoon, it seems promises were made which our partner is now no longer delivering – frequently they have turned into the very opposite, from an angel into a demon. Falling in love seemed to promise lasting happiness and fulfilment. But often our partner now protests: “But I never made that promise!”

When the honeymoon is over, the daily nitty-gritty of loving begins – the mundane ‘work’ of forging loving out of falling in love. Falling in love is easy – it can happen to anybody, without much effort or awareness. Loving – and ensuring that our partner feels loved by us – is a whole other process. It requires commitment and tenacity, and it usually involves pain and struggle – let’s bring some of these qualities to the workshop.

Michael will draw from a wide range therapeutic approaches to help you work creatively and experientially with your live relationship issues. No prior experience of therapy is necessary. It goes without saying that you will not be required to expose anything unless you are comfortable and willing to do so.

Michael has been practising as therapist, supervisor and teacher of counsellors and psychotherapists for more than 30 years. He has had a private practice in Oxford since 1991, and has been teaching on a wide variety of training courses, conferences and professional development events. He has been working with couples for many years.


OTS Couple Workshop Series 2

Making commitments and recovering trust after infidelity

An evening/1-day workshop for couples – with Michael Soth

Having fallen in love, commitment is easy. But beyond that, with any and every step in commitment, the stakes get higher. The agreement to be monogamous, moving in together, shared finances, buying a house together, marriage, having children - each step towards deeper commitment deepens our vulnerability to the other: the more we are intertwined, the more painful the wrench will be if for any reason we have to separate.

It is therefore emotionally quite understandable that each step towards deeper commitment raises the spectre of insecurities, fears and previous betrayals, and with it reluctance, ambivalence, defensiveness and rejection. Both internal and external thresholds have to be re-negotiated at every step.

At each such threshold all kinds of irrationalities come up, and couples check and test each other. Like a stress test in a factory, if we keep putting on more and more pressure with each test, it’s going to become a self-fulfilling prophecy: at some point the thing will break.

Having made commitments or exchanged marriage vows, it usually seems clear and straightforward that the one who breaks them is the guilty party. But whilst the injured party may take some satisfaction from taking the moral high ground, really, that way we are on a hiding to nothing. If all you want is revenge, then this is an effective avenue.

If, however, as well as as wanting your own back, you want to stand any chance of recovering love, it is more helpful to remember that each and every step in the relationship was co-created. The more productive question, therefore, is: as you cannot go back to how things were, what is the learning that will help you move on to a new relationship? Whatever kind of love was destroyed by infidelity, what is the new kind of loving that wants to emerge?

This workshop is for couples who are either struggling with a threshold in commitment, or for those where commitments have been broken - we will use these two sides of the coin of commitment to learn from each other.

Michael will draw from a wide range therapeutic approaches to help you work creatively and experientially with your live relationship issues. No prior experience of therapy is necessary. It goes without saying that you will not be required to expose anything unless you are comfortable and willing to do so.

Recommended reading: “Mating in Captivity” by Esther Perel

Michael has been practising as therapist, supervisor and teacher of counsellors and psychotherapists for more than 30 years. He has had a private practice in Oxford since 1991, and has been teaching on a wide variety of training courses, conferences and professional development events. He has been working with couples for many years.


OTS Couple Workshop Series 3

Why should I love you more than you love yourself?

A workshop for couples – with Michael Soth

“You do not love me enough!” “Why can’t you love me in the way I want to be loved?”

These are common accusations between couples, and they generate cycles of frustration and guilt. When the partner then re-doubles their efforts and makes deliberate attempts to show more love in the ‘right’ way, it usually still isn’t right: their efforts do not seem to reach the parts that need it. That is distressing for both partners - the unmet demands intensify and the partner feels criticised, helpless or resentful, because there seems to be no realistic way of satisfying the apparent need for more love.

Sometimes this happens because for all our demands to be loved, we are not actually receptive to it or we do not actually feel we deserve it. There is not enough self-love in the first place, for love to be given or received. Often the partner protests, somewhat defensively: “I can’t possibly deliver this ideal love you seem to be demanding!”

But for many couples, where self-love and self-compassion are insufficient to begin with, a deeper question is more helpful: “Why should I love you more than you love yourself?”

This can become a profound challenge to the endless cycles of co-dependent demands and frustrations.

If we want love, what kind of work is required for us to get ready to receive it? How can we prepare ourselves to be loved?

Michael will draw from a wide range therapeutic approaches to help you work creatively and experientially with your live relationship issues. No prior experience of therapy is necessary. It goes without saying that you will not be required to expose anything unless you are comfortable and willing to do so.

Michael has been practising as therapist, supervisor and teacher of counsellors and psychotherapists for more than 30 years. He has had a private practice in Oxford since 1991, and has been teaching on a wide variety of training courses, conferences and professional development events. He has been working with couples for many years.

 

OTS Couple Workshop Series 4

What is the deeper purpose of couples fighting?

Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.” Hamlet Act 2, scene 2

An evening/1-day workshop for couples who think there might be method in the madness – with Michael Soth

Many couples fight, mostly about apparently trivial things. Over time, deeper conflicts become apparent and repeat themselves in predictable arguments going round in predictable cycles. Over further time, as these never seem to get resolved, the fights get more bitter and entrenched. Increasingly, they outweigh whatever love was there - slowly, they erode affection until there is a morose stand-off or there are affairs or separation. What is the purpose of all this bickering and fighting?

Most therapeutic approaches to couple work, as well as self-help books on the topic, exhort you and instruct you how to become more loving: how to listen, how to assert your needs without imposing, how to curb your irrationalities, how to appreciate your partner, how to focus on the bright side - in short: how to behave like reasonable adults and well-adjusted cooperative partners. Many of these approaches work well up to a point, and if you are entirely satisfied with these methods, this workshop is not for you.

However, if you consistently fail to be reasonable, if irrational passions continue to leak out, if you have set your sights beyond well-behaved normality, if you suspect that more love and more loving is possible, or if you just plain cannot stop fighting, this workshop may be of interest.

Through learning to fight well – that is: both passionately and productively - we may discover the uniquely purposeful gifts which resentment, negativity, anger and hostility can bestow on your relationship.

Michael will draw from a wide range therapeutic approaches to help you work creatively and experientially with your live relationship issues. No prior experience of therapy is necessary, but considering the topic, some direct expression of anger is likely to occur during the workshop (if you have any doubts or concerns at all how this can be handled safely and without victimisation, please feel free to ask questions and discuss this beforehand). It goes without saying that you will not be required to expose anything unless you are comfortable and willing to do so.

Michael has been practising as therapist, supervisor and teacher of counsellors and psychotherapists for more than 30 years. He has had a private practice in Oxford since 1991, and has been teaching on a wide variety of training courses, conferences and professional development events. He has been working with couples for many years, helping them survive relationship crises and deepen their commitment as well as occasionally helping them separate amicably and productively.

Mar
10
Sat
2018
North London – Ongoing Integrative CPD Group (currently closed) @ The Nebula
Mar 10 @ 10:00 – Mar 11 @ 17:00

An ongoing, broad-spectrum integrative professional development group

This semi-closed group has been running for several years now, with new participants joining the 'pool' of members as places become available. Led by one of the most experienced integrative trainers in the UK, this group will provide an ideal relational container for your ongoing development as a therapist. By immersing yourself in a diverse group of colleagues from different schools and orientations, you will widen your perspective, deepen your practice, draw both inspiration and challenge from the co-created wide-ranging experiential work and have a reference point as well as resources and teaching to support your further development.

You can find a detailed description of the format and objectives of this group on the dedicated page.

Mar
17
Sat
2018
Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group with Nick Totton & Michael Soth
Mar 17 @ 10:00 – Mar 18 @ 17:00

Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2018 (Weekend 1 of 5 with both Nick & Michael)

These workshops, designed for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the approaches, are an opportunity to work with and learn from two of the most experienced trainers at the forefront of bringing embodiment into psychotherapy.
Rather than grafting the body onto established practice as one more eclectic technique, Nick and Michael have been working towards a non-dualistic embodied way of being and relating in the therapeutic relationship.
This series of CPD training events provides an ideal container for your continuing professional development, rooted in your own embodied process.

For full details  regarding this unique venture in Britain's Southwest, see the dedicated page: Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2018.

It is likely that the group will continue in 2019 with another series of four weekends.

Mar
20
Tue
2018
Bristol Monthly Small Supervision Groups @ Fulcrum House
Mar 20 @ 13:30 – 15:30

These small supervision groups run on a regular monthly basis at Fulcrum House in Bristol. There are three groups with 4 participants each during each Tuesday (11.20-13.20; 13.30-15.30; 15.45-17.45). From January 2018 there are 3 places available in the second group - please contact Michael for details. The cost is £55 for each 2-hour group.

download the leaflet

Dates for 2018:

16/1/18; 20/2/18; 20/3/18; 24/4/18; 15/5/18; 19/6/18; 17/7/18

These groups have been running for the last few years, and there is a consistent core of participants, but some re-arrangements have meant that 3 places are now becoming available (in Group 2).

The monthly frequency of these groups means they are not really a replacement for ongoing regular supervision, but are being used by participants as part of their continuing professional development, to deepen and enhance their practice. The diversity of modalities, orientations and styles provides a rich learning environment.

Michael's supervision style is integrative, so therapists from all modalities and orientations are welcome, and will find plenty of opportunities to learn from the diversity within the group.
Michael pays attention to parallel process on all levels (see his presentation on 'Fractal Self' at CONFER for how he has extended the notion of 'parallel process', for the purposes of supervision, as well as an organising principle for therapy generally), including how the client-therapist dynamic is picked up by the group and reflected within it. He is welcoming of experiential exploration of 'charged moments', via roleplay, within participants' need and willingness for exposure in the group.

He will focus on speaking in the language of each supervisee's approach, but an exploration of transference-countertransference dynamics is likely to be included, unless a supervisee explicitly declines this. In his approach to supervision, Michael pays attention to the embodied, non-verbal communications and unconscious processes, how they oscillate between working alliance and enactment, and how the therapist's habitual stance/position becomes involved in these conflicts and tensions. Whilst the exploration of the therapist's relational entanglement is an important aspect of the supervision, the focus is on the deepening of the client's process, and the therapist's continuing learning process. Michael believes that by embracing whole-heartedly the difficulties, paradoxes, shadow aspects and complexities of the therapeutic process, therapists stand the best chance of doing justice to their clients, as well as their own authority, effectiveness and satisfaction as a practitioner.

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
24
Tue
2018
Bristol Monthly Small Supervision Groups @ Fulcrum House
Apr 24 @ 13:30 – 15:30

These small supervision groups run on a regular monthly basis at Fulcrum House in Bristol. There are three groups with 4 participants each during each Tuesday (11.20-13.20; 13.30-15.30; 15.45-17.45). From January 2018 there are 3 places available in the second group - please contact Michael for details. The cost is £55 for each 2-hour group.

download the leaflet

Dates for 2018:

16/1/18; 20/2/18; 20/3/18; 24/4/18; 15/5/18; 19/6/18; 17/7/18

These groups have been running for the last few years, and there is a consistent core of participants, but some re-arrangements have meant that 3 places are now becoming available (in Group 2).

The monthly frequency of these groups means they are not really a replacement for ongoing regular supervision, but are being used by participants as part of their continuing professional development, to deepen and enhance their practice. The diversity of modalities, orientations and styles provides a rich learning environment.

Michael's supervision style is integrative, so therapists from all modalities and orientations are welcome, and will find plenty of opportunities to learn from the diversity within the group.
Michael pays attention to parallel process on all levels (see his presentation on 'Fractal Self' at CONFER for how he has extended the notion of 'parallel process', for the purposes of supervision, as well as an organising principle for therapy generally), including how the client-therapist dynamic is picked up by the group and reflected within it. He is welcoming of experiential exploration of 'charged moments', via roleplay, within participants' need and willingness for exposure in the group.

He will focus on speaking in the language of each supervisee's approach, but an exploration of transference-countertransference dynamics is likely to be included, unless a supervisee explicitly declines this. In his approach to supervision, Michael pays attention to the embodied, non-verbal communications and unconscious processes, how they oscillate between working alliance and enactment, and how the therapist's habitual stance/position becomes involved in these conflicts and tensions. Whilst the exploration of the therapist's relational entanglement is an important aspect of the supervision, the focus is on the deepening of the client's process, and the therapist's continuing learning process. Michael believes that by embracing whole-heartedly the difficulties, paradoxes, shadow aspects and complexities of the therapeutic process, therapists stand the best chance of doing justice to their clients, as well as their own authority, effectiveness and satisfaction as a practitioner.

Apr
28
Sat
2018
Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group with Nick Totton
Apr 28 @ 10:00 – Apr 29 @ 17:00

Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2018 (Weekend 2 of 5 with Nick)

These workshops, designed for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the approaches, are an opportunity to work with and learn from two of the most experienced trainers at the forefront of bringing embodiment into psychotherapy.
Rather than grafting the body onto established practice as one more eclectic technique, Nick and Michael have been working towards a non-dualistic embodied way of being and relating in the therapeutic relationship.
This series of CPD training events provides an ideal container for your continuing professional development, rooted in your own embodied process.

For full details  regarding this unique venture in Britain's Southwest, see the dedicated page: Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2018.

It is likely that the group will continue in 2019 with another series of four weekends.

OTS: Witney – Working Relationally – Don’t we All? (tbc) @ Witney Therapy Centre
Apr 28 @ 10:00 – 17:00

OTS_header

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.

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

 

May
15
Tue
2018
Bristol Monthly Small Supervision Groups @ Fulcrum House
May 15 @ 13:30 – 15:30

These small supervision groups run on a regular monthly basis at Fulcrum House in Bristol. There are three groups with 4 participants each during each Tuesday (11.20-13.20; 13.30-15.30; 15.45-17.45). From January 2018 there are 3 places available in the second group - please contact Michael for details. The cost is £55 for each 2-hour group.

download the leaflet

Dates for 2018:

16/1/18; 20/2/18; 20/3/18; 24/4/18; 15/5/18; 19/6/18; 17/7/18

These groups have been running for the last few years, and there is a consistent core of participants, but some re-arrangements have meant that 3 places are now becoming available (in Group 2).

The monthly frequency of these groups means they are not really a replacement for ongoing regular supervision, but are being used by participants as part of their continuing professional development, to deepen and enhance their practice. The diversity of modalities, orientations and styles provides a rich learning environment.

Michael's supervision style is integrative, so therapists from all modalities and orientations are welcome, and will find plenty of opportunities to learn from the diversity within the group.
Michael pays attention to parallel process on all levels (see his presentation on 'Fractal Self' at CONFER for how he has extended the notion of 'parallel process', for the purposes of supervision, as well as an organising principle for therapy generally), including how the client-therapist dynamic is picked up by the group and reflected within it. He is welcoming of experiential exploration of 'charged moments', via roleplay, within participants' need and willingness for exposure in the group.

He will focus on speaking in the language of each supervisee's approach, but an exploration of transference-countertransference dynamics is likely to be included, unless a supervisee explicitly declines this. In his approach to supervision, Michael pays attention to the embodied, non-verbal communications and unconscious processes, how they oscillate between working alliance and enactment, and how the therapist's habitual stance/position becomes involved in these conflicts and tensions. Whilst the exploration of the therapist's relational entanglement is an important aspect of the supervision, the focus is on the deepening of the client's process, and the therapist's continuing learning process. Michael believes that by embracing whole-heartedly the difficulties, paradoxes, shadow aspects and complexities of the therapeutic process, therapists stand the best chance of doing justice to their clients, as well as their own authority, effectiveness and satisfaction as a practitioner.

Jun
3
Sun
2018
North London – Ongoing Integrative CPD Group (currently closed)
Jun 3 @ 10:00 – 17:00

An ongoing, broad-spectrum integrative group

This semi-closed group has been running for several years now, with new participants joining the 'pool' of members as places become available. Led by one of the most experienced integrative trainers in the UK, this group will provide an ideal relational container for your ongoing development as a therapist. By immersing yourself in a diverse group of colleagues from different schools and orientations, you will widen your perspective, deepen your practice, draw both inspiration and challenge from the co-created wide-ranging experiential work and have a reference point as well as resources and teaching to support your further development.

You can find a detailed description of the format and objectives of this group on the dedicated page.

Jun
17
Sun
2018
Bristol CPD Workshop: Relational dynamics in body-oriented psychotherapy @ Quaker Meeting House
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.

 

Jun
19
Tue
2018
Bristol Monthly Small Supervision Groups @ Fulcrum House
Jun 19 @ 13:30 – 15:30

These small supervision groups run on a regular monthly basis at Fulcrum House in Bristol. There are three groups with 4 participants each during each Tuesday (11.20-13.20; 13.30-15.30; 15.45-17.45). From January 2018 there are 3 places available in the second group - please contact Michael for details. The cost is £55 for each 2-hour group.

download the leaflet

Dates for 2018:

16/1/18; 20/2/18; 20/3/18; 24/4/18; 15/5/18; 19/6/18; 17/7/18

These groups have been running for the last few years, and there is a consistent core of participants, but some re-arrangements have meant that 3 places are now becoming available (in Group 2).

The monthly frequency of these groups means they are not really a replacement for ongoing regular supervision, but are being used by participants as part of their continuing professional development, to deepen and enhance their practice. The diversity of modalities, orientations and styles provides a rich learning environment.

Michael's supervision style is integrative, so therapists from all modalities and orientations are welcome, and will find plenty of opportunities to learn from the diversity within the group.
Michael pays attention to parallel process on all levels (see his presentation on 'Fractal Self' at CONFER for how he has extended the notion of 'parallel process', for the purposes of supervision, as well as an organising principle for therapy generally), including how the client-therapist dynamic is picked up by the group and reflected within it. He is welcoming of experiential exploration of 'charged moments', via roleplay, within participants' need and willingness for exposure in the group.

He will focus on speaking in the language of each supervisee's approach, but an exploration of transference-countertransference dynamics is likely to be included, unless a supervisee explicitly declines this. In his approach to supervision, Michael pays attention to the embodied, non-verbal communications and unconscious processes, how they oscillate between working alliance and enactment, and how the therapist's habitual stance/position becomes involved in these conflicts and tensions. Whilst the exploration of the therapist's relational entanglement is an important aspect of the supervision, the focus is on the deepening of the client's process, and the therapist's continuing learning process. Michael believes that by embracing whole-heartedly the difficulties, paradoxes, shadow aspects and complexities of the therapeutic process, therapists stand the best chance of doing justice to their clients, as well as their own authority, effectiveness and satisfaction as a practitioner.

Jun
23
Sat
2018
Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group with Michael Soth
Jun 23 @ 10:00 – Jun 24 @ 17:00

Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2018 (Weekend 3 of 5 with Michael)

These workshops, designed for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the approaches, are an opportunity to work with and learn from two of the most experienced trainers at the forefront of bringing embodiment into psychotherapy.
Rather than grafting the body onto established practice as one more eclectic technique, Nick and Michael have been working towards a non-dualistic embodied way of being and relating in the therapeutic relationship.
This series of CPD training events provides an ideal container for your continuing professional development, rooted in your own embodied process.

For full details  regarding this unique venture in Britain's Southwest, see the dedicated page: Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2018.

It is likely that the group will continue in 2019 with another series of four weekends.

Jul
17
Tue
2018
Bristol Monthly Small Supervision Groups @ Fulcrum House
Jul 17 @ 13:30 – 15:30

These small supervision groups run on a regular monthly basis at Fulcrum House in Bristol. There are three groups with 4 participants each during each Tuesday (11.20-13.20; 13.30-15.30; 15.45-17.45). From January 2018 there are 3 places available in the second group - please contact Michael for details. The cost is £55 for each 2-hour group.

download the leaflet

Dates for 2018:

16/1/18; 20/2/18; 20/3/18; 24/4/18; 15/5/18; 19/6/18; 17/7/18

These groups have been running for the last few years, and there is a consistent core of participants, but some re-arrangements have meant that 3 places are now becoming available (in Group 2).

The monthly frequency of these groups means they are not really a replacement for ongoing regular supervision, but are being used by participants as part of their continuing professional development, to deepen and enhance their practice. The diversity of modalities, orientations and styles provides a rich learning environment.

Michael's supervision style is integrative, so therapists from all modalities and orientations are welcome, and will find plenty of opportunities to learn from the diversity within the group.
Michael pays attention to parallel process on all levels (see his presentation on 'Fractal Self' at CONFER for how he has extended the notion of 'parallel process', for the purposes of supervision, as well as an organising principle for therapy generally), including how the client-therapist dynamic is picked up by the group and reflected within it. He is welcoming of experiential exploration of 'charged moments', via roleplay, within participants' need and willingness for exposure in the group.

He will focus on speaking in the language of each supervisee's approach, but an exploration of transference-countertransference dynamics is likely to be included, unless a supervisee explicitly declines this. In his approach to supervision, Michael pays attention to the embodied, non-verbal communications and unconscious processes, how they oscillate between working alliance and enactment, and how the therapist's habitual stance/position becomes involved in these conflicts and tensions. Whilst the exploration of the therapist's relational entanglement is an important aspect of the supervision, the focus is on the deepening of the client's process, and the therapist's continuing learning process. Michael believes that by embracing whole-heartedly the difficulties, paradoxes, shadow aspects and complexities of the therapeutic process, therapists stand the best chance of doing justice to their clients, as well as their own authority, effectiveness and satisfaction as a practitioner.

Sep
8
Sat
2018
Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group with Nick Totton
Sep 8 @ 10:00 – Sep 9 @ 17:00

Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2018 (Weekend 4 of 5 with Nick)

These workshops, designed for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the approaches, are an opportunity to work with and learn from two of the most experienced trainers at the forefront of bringing embodiment into psychotherapy.
Rather than grafting the body onto established practice as one more eclectic technique, Nick and Michael have been working towards a non-dualistic embodied way of being and relating in the therapeutic relationship.
This series of CPD training events provides an ideal container for your continuing professional development, rooted in your own embodied process.

For full details  regarding this unique venture in Britain's Southwest, see the dedicated page: Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2018.

It is likely that the group will continue in 2019 with another series of four weekends.

Sep
23
Sun
2018
North London – Ongoing Integrative CPD Group (currently closed)
Sep 23 @ 10:00 – 17:00

An ongoing, broad-spectrum integrative group

This semi-closed group has been running for several years now, with new participants joining the 'pool' of members as places become available. Led by one of the most experienced integrative trainers in the UK, this group will provide an ideal relational container for your ongoing development as a therapist. By immersing yourself in a diverse group of colleagues from different schools and orientations, you will widen your perspective, deepen your practice, draw both inspiration and challenge from the co-created wide-ranging experiential work and have a reference point as well as resources and teaching to support your further development.

You can find a detailed description of the format and objectives of this group on the dedicated page.

Nov
25
Sun
2018
North London – Ongoing Integrative CPD Group (currently closed)
Nov 25 @ 10:00 – 17:00

An ongoing, broad-spectrum integrative group

This semi-closed group has been running for several years now, with new participants joining the 'pool' of members as places become available. Led by one of the most experienced integrative trainers in the UK, this group will provide an ideal relational container for your ongoing development as a therapist. By immersing yourself in a diverse group of colleagues from different schools and orientations, you will widen your perspective, deepen your practice, draw both inspiration and challenge from the co-created wide-ranging experiential work and have a reference point as well as resources and teaching to support your further development.

You can find a detailed description of the format and objectives of this group on the dedicated page.

Dec
1
Sat
2018
Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group with Michael Soth
Dec 1 @ 10:00 – Dec 2 @ 17:00

Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2018 (Weekend 5 of 5 with Michael)

These workshops, designed for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the approaches, are an opportunity to work with and learn from two of the most experienced trainers at the forefront of bringing embodiment into psychotherapy.
Rather than grafting the body onto established practice as one more eclectic technique, Nick and Michael have been working towards a non-dualistic embodied way of being and relating in the therapeutic relationship.
This series of CPD training events provides an ideal container for your continuing professional development, rooted in your own embodied process.

For full details  regarding this unique venture in Britain's Southwest, see the dedicated page: Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2018.

It is likely that the group will continue in 2019 with another series of four weekends.