Calendar – One-Off CPD Events

Calendar – One-Off CPD Events2014-08-28T16:58:33+00:00

Athens: Embodied perspectives on couples and couple work @ Vasilisis Sofia 51
Nov 17 @ 10:00 – Nov 18 @ 18:00
Athens: Embodied perspectives on couples and couple work @ Vasilisis Sofia 51 | Athens | Greece

A weekend workshop in Athens with Michael Soth (17 & 18 November 2018)

on extending your practice from individuals to couples

suitable for all counsellors and therapists from across all therapeutic approaches

Couple work presents many additional challenges beyond individual therapy, but this weekend will condense the essentials into accessible form, focusing especially on the advantages which an embodied and integrative therapeutic perspective can bring to couple work.

An embodied perspective can significantly enhance couple work, in all aspects of the process: in terms of the therapist’s perceptive skills, our understanding of the dynamic as well as powerful opportunities for intervention. The habitual patterns and vicious circles which couples struggle with are mainly triggered, communicated and perpetuated on non-verbal and pre-reflexive levels (as interpersonal neurobiology shows – see references).

For most couples, mutual projective identifications occur subliminally and are difficult to notice and bring into awareness, especially when the couple therapist traditionally relies on ‘talking therapy’ methods and interpretations.

An integrative approach allows the therapist a creative range of interventions – using techniques from Gestalt, constellations, process-oriented psychology to help the couple discover experientially both the roots of their patterns as well as new ways of relating.

Michael will propose a distinction of the field into 8 kinds of couple therapy, drawing on a wide variety of humanistic, interpersonal, neuro-biological, systemic, and psychoanalytic approaches, all of which can be useful and contribute to a more comprehensive integration.

Some of the topics we may address:

  • “Can Love Last?” (after the book by Stephen Mitchell) – the vulnerability of attachment and commitment
  • the promise of falling in love: the other will provide protection against woundedness
  • embodied awareness of each partner’s internal object relations
  • complex vicious cycles of child – idealised parent – bad parent - child
  • mutual projective identifications (how the partners ‘dream each other up’)
  • the systemic fit: who the partners represent in each other’s family system
  • the Jungian and transpersonal perspective: each partner can become the other’s guide towards individuation (which involves as a side-effect of the relationship the destroying of each other’s defences)
  • Esther Perel’s contributions to our understanding of infidelity and erotic desire

Michael Soth has been developing his version of Embodied Integrative Couple Work over the last 12 years, and has worked with a wide variety of couples. He is an integral-relational Body Psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor (UKCP), living in Oxford, UK. Over the last 32 years he has been teaching on a range of counselling and therapy training courses, alongside working as Training Director at the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy.

Inheriting concepts, values and ways of working from both psychoanalytic and humanistic traditions, he is interested in the therapeutic relationship as a bodymind process between two people who are both wounded and whole.

In his work and teaching, he integrates an unusually wide range of psychotherapeutic approaches, working towards a broad-spectrum integration of all therapeutic modalities and approaches, each with their gifts, wisdoms and expertise as well as their shadow aspects, fallacies and areas of obliviousness.

Extracts from his published writing as well as hand-outs, blogs and summaries of presentations are available through his website for INTEGRA CPD:

Interview on couple work

In preparation for the CPD workshop on couple work in Athens, Michael is interviewed by a Greek colleague:

  • Michael, why do we need companionship? Is it an innate need or just something we learned from society and we are trying to reproduce it?
  • Are there some distinct stages that interpersonal relationships go through? If so, can you summarize them?
  • In the description of your seminar I read with surprise that “one of the purposes / side-effects of the relationship is to destroy each other’s defences”. Can you elaborate?
  • Michael, according to your experience, what are the reasons why many people prefer to stay in a existing relationship that doesn’t offer anything any more, rather than set a new course and go for a better relationship?
  • Many times I have wondered in my life: am I falling in love with the person that I see in front of me or the longings and expectations that this person is producing in me? Am I falling in love with the other or an imaginary part of myself? Is there a way to distinguish one case from the other?
  • Is love enough by itself to keep a relationship going?
  • In your opinion, what is the biggest mistake that therapists and mental health professionals make when approaching couple therapy?
  • You talk about embodied couple therapy - what is that and how does it work? What does an embodied approach have to offer in addition to the talking therapies for couples?
  • Is learning about couple work useful only to couple therapists?

You can access the PDF with the interview here.

References for Couple Therapy

Stephen Mitchell (Relational Psychoanalysis): Can Love Last?

Esther Perel:

Mating in Captivity

The State Of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity

Esther Perel website

Esther Perel TED talk

James Hillman: see chapter ‘Abandonment in Marriage’ in Loose Ends: Primary Papers in Archetypal Psychology

A Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy:

Stan Tatkin

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy:

Sue Johnson:

Imago Therapy:

Harville Hendrix, PhD: Getting The Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

Couples Therapist Hedy Schleifer:

“Couples Therapist Hedy Schleifer, along with her husband Yumi Schleifer, are expert relationship coaches who lead workshops for couples, and trainings for therapists and organizations, transforming relationships worldwide.”

Psychoanalytic (Tavistock) perspectives on relationships

Stanley Ruszczynski

Psychotherapy With Couples: Theory and Practice at the Tavistock Institute of Marital Studies

Jungian perspectives on love

Robert A. Johnson

She: Understanding Feminine Psychology

He: Understanding Masculine Psychology

We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love

The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden: Understanding The Wounded Feeling Function In Masculine And Feminine Psychology

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Women Who Run With The Wolves: Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman

Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother's Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul

Jean Shinoda Bolen

Goddesses in Everywoman: Thirtieth Anniversary Edition: Powerful Archetypes in Women's Lives

Nathan Schwartz-Salant

Schwartz-Salant, N. (1998) The Mystery of Human Relationship: Alchemy and the Transformation of the Self

Family Therapy

Virginia Satir:

(1991) The Satir Model: Family Therapy and Beyond (Science and Behavior Books)

(2008) Your Many Faces: The First Step to Being Loved (Celestial Arts)

Salvador Minuchin:

Mastering Family Therapy: Journeys of Growth and Transformation

The Craft of Family Therapy: Challenging Certainties

Family Constellations

Bert Hellinger:

Love's Hidden Symmetry: What Makes Love Work in Relationships - The Order of Love

How to Work when Therapy isn’t Working @ Brighton, East Sussex
Mar 2 @ 10:00 – 16:30

HelplessShakespearePerceiving and understanding 'enactment' in the therapeutic relationship

Over recent years the most exciting developments in our field have come via neuroscience, psychotherapy integration (i.e. cross-fertilisation between approaches) and the inclusion of the body. We now understand that whatever psychological wounds the client is bringing to us and into the consulting room, we will in some ways become involved and implicated with them in ways that go far beyond verbal interaction. The term ‘enactment’ is being used to describe the ways in which the therapist is - inevitably and necessarily - drawn into the client’s wounding, leading to impasses and breakdowns in the working alliance.
There is great therapeutic potential in these cycles of rupture and repair that occur in the client-therapist relationship, but much of it occurs subliminally. So if it occurs unconsciously, outside of awareness, how can we perceive and understand enactment and respond creatively from within it? Whilst there are a multitude of ways of ignoring, avoiding and counteracting enactment, there is also increasing understanding that it has deep transformative potential*.

This CPD workshop is dedicated to deepening our engagement with difficult dynamics in the therapeutic relationship, and to finding ways of accessing the therapeutic potential locked within them. It is open to all practising therapists, and suitable for practitioners from all modalities.

What you can expect to learn on the day …

  • perceive the ways in which the client’s wound enters the consulting room
  • register significant and charged moments in the relationship
  • understand these moments in the context of the ‘three kinds of contact'
  • collect in these moments bodymind information which would otherwise remain subliminal
  • collect in these moments images, fantasies, scenarios, narratives which deepen our engagement from within the enactment
  • link these moments to the client’s habitual relational patterns
  • process the charge and pressure impacting on the therapist
  • begin to consider interventions for relieving or intensifying the enactment pressure

* ‘Deep’ psychotherapy, according to Allan Schore, for example (i.e. therapy that addresses early developmental injury and attachment and character patterns) depends on apprehending, engaging in and transforming spontaneous enactments which occur in the interaction between client and therapist inspite of the client’s repressive and dissociative defences

Organisers: Brighton Therapy Partnership

This workshop is expertly organised by Shelley Holland from Brighton Therapy Partnership, who has been running an inspiring and well-attended CPD programme for many years now. You can find some feedback in response to previous workshops on Michael's tutor page there.


Proposed CPD workshop: Working with Illness in Psychotherapy
Apr 11 @ 10:00 – Apr 12 @ 18:00

The bodymind connection in working with psychosomatic and physical symptoms

A weekend workshop in Athens with Michael Soth

Even though counsellors and psychotherapists are traditionally expected to focus on emotional, mental and verbal communications, many clients invariably do bring their physical and psychosomatic symptoms into the session.

Through including body-oriented ways of working into the talking therapies, we can learn to work with many of these symptoms more directly, more deeply and more effectively (and recognise other situations where the hope of curing illness through psychology is an unreasonable idealisation).

This CPD workshop is designed to expand your understanding of the bodymind connection as well as offering a wide range of creative and body-oriented techniques to include in your practice.

With some illnesses - like hypertension, chest and heart problems, digestive illnesses, symptoms of the immune system - it is scientifically established that emotional stress contributes to their origin. With many other psychosomatic problems, like all kinds of pain, tinnitus, insomnia, chronic fatigue and many other unexplained symptoms, it is known that the intensity of the suffering can be ameliorated through psychological therapy that addresses the regulation and expression of emotion and de-stresses the mind.

Stress is the catchall phrase that supposedly explains the influence of our psychological body-emotion-mind state on illness. However, what is less well understood, is how our bodymind does not just respond to stresses in our current situation and lifestyle, but carries accumulated stress from the past, reaching all the way back to childhood. A holistic and bio-social-psychological understanding of stress needs to include lifelong patterns of the bodymind including developmental injury and trauma (what Wilhelm Reich originally called character structures).

Sometimes clients bring psychosomatic illness as a presenting issue to the therapy, sometimes these symptoms actually evolve in direct response to the unfolding therapeutic process, and the therapist gets implicated in them, e.g. “After last session I had a headache for three days!”

Direct links to body sensations and symptoms as well as body image come up as part of our work in sessions every day, in so many ways: tangible pains, tensions, trembling and shaking, breathing difficulties (hyperventilation, asthma), the physical side of unbearable feelings like panic, rage, dread or terror. There are obvious somatic aspects to presenting issues such as eating disorders or addictions. And then there are the psychological implications of actual, sometimes terminal, illnesses and psychosomatic symptoms and dis-ease.


How do we work with these issues and symptoms in psychotherapy? What ways are available to us for including the client’s ‘felt sense’, their embodied self states, their body awareness and sensations, their physiological experience in the interaction ?

This workshop will give you a framework for thinking about the role of the body as it is relevant in your own style of therapeutic work, based upon the different ways in which clients as well as therapists relate to ‘the symptom’. Throughout the workshop, we will use roleplay of actual issues and dilemmas brought up by your clients. We will also identify and practice ways in which you can explore the emotional function and 'meaning' of your client's physical symptom or illness.

Drawing on a wide range of humanistic and psychoanalytic approaches (including Body Psychotherapy, Process-oriented Psychology, various schools of psychoanalysis and Jungian perspectives) as well as the holistic paradigm underpinning most complementary therapies, we will weave together an interdisciplinary bodymind approach which is applicable within the therapeutic relationship as we know it in counselling and psychotherapy.


Michael has been working with the psychological and bodymind connection of illness and psychosomatic symptoms for many years. In the 1990s he initiated a project called 'Soul in Illness', offering an integrative psychotherapeutic perspective, drawing on the wisdom which the different therapeutic approaches have accumulated regarding illness, both in terms of theoretical understanding and practical ways of working. He has run CPD workshops for therapists on ‘Working with Illness’ many times, and has developed a relational and embodied way of engaging with the client’s bodymind. In 2005 he presented for the first time his model of ‘8 ways of relating to the symptom’, which addresses the client’s own relationship to their symptom, as well as giving an overview of the different stances taken by the therapist in the various therapeutic approaches that correspond to each of the ways of relating to the symptom. These eight ways of relating to the symptom, including the corresponding theoretical understandings as well as methods and techniques for intervention, will form the underlying framework for this workshop.