A broad-spectrum integrative, embodied & relational group for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the therapeutic approaches and modalities - with Michael Soth
About the format the group
This group has been ongoing since 2015, at a frequency about 4 or 5 days per year. It is semi-closed, to allow for continuity and group cohesion. That means participants form a ‘pool’ of about 16 group members, with the aim of attending as many days as they can, though not everybody is expected to join in every time. The dates will be planned and set a long time in advance, so in practice it should be possible to make sure that we have at least 12 to 14 people present at each of the days. When people drop out of the ‘pool’, Michael may invite new group members to join. As of December 2017, the group is currently closed.
This group, led by one of the most experienced integrative trainers in the UK, 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 and have a reference point as well as resources and teaching to support your further development.
Towards an embodied holistic 21st-century psychotherapy
All the work of the group will have a strong emphasis on the bodymind connection and embodiment, extending our awareness beyond verbal communication. A significant number of participants will bring some training and experience of various body-oriented perspectives to the group. By grounding everything that happens in the therapeutic dynamic in the corresponding psycho-somatic processes (in both client and therapist and the relationship), we will be applying cutting-edge principles of modern neuroscience regarding right-brain to right-brain attunement, implicit relational knowing and multi-modal communication.
Integration on the basis of relational modalities
Embracing the validity of different kinds of therapeutic relatedness, we will attend to the therapeutic relationship as a multi-dimensional space where different modalities of relating reveal and open up different therapeutic avenues and possibilities. Michael is building upon models of relational multiplicity by Petruska Clarkson and Martha Stark, and has developed these further into what he calls his ‘diamond model’, recognising the paradoxical nature of enactment as central to the therapeutic endeavour. This will form a theoretical backdrop to the work of the group, allowing integration of humanistic, psychoanalytic, behavioural, systemic and other traditions.
The therapeutic relationship - systems within systems
We can think of client and therapist as forming a semi-closed system which – as we know – can be paralleled in the supervisory system (parallel process between therapist and supervisor). In a similar way, therapy is nested within other systems past and present which constitute its context and both restrict and resource the process. Thinking systemically – what Michael calls the ‘Fractal Self – will be a background perspective which may occasionally become part of the teaching, drawing on complexity theory and various systemic theories and approaches.
Fluid, experiential ways of working – integrating theory and practice
Working with the general notion of the ‘reflective practitioner’, we will try to integrate individual and group process as well as experiential and theoretical learning and clinical reflection. We will value different learning styles and use different formats and structures flexibly, in response to the group’s unfolding needs. There will be space for you to bring the issues and dilemmas arising in your practice, and address these in terms of specific clients as well as general theoretical themes.
Developing your own unique style and approach – the ‘wounded healer’
Unlike your original training, this group is not beholden to a particular approach and its paradigm and assumptions. You can work, learn and practice within your existing modality, or you can stretch, expand and explore other approaches, without any obligations or loyalty issues. We will be working from an inclusive integral-relational perspective, but the priority is for your learning to always stay relevant and applicable to your own style and modality and evolving practice.
Recognising that it is your self that the work hinges upon (and not much else), we will aim at helping you develop an idiosyncratic therapeutic presence that ‘suits’ you and matches who you are as a person and your life. Inevitably, this will include your own history and pathology, so discovering what the archetype of the wounded healer means to you and embracing it as well as inhabiting it as a therapist will be one of the opportunities which the group offers.