Events for ALL Counsellors & Psychotherapists

Events for ALL Counsellors & Psychotherapists2014-08-28T16:24:06+00:00

Oct
4
Sun
2020
Oxford: Mastering the Creative Therapeutic Technique of Two-chair Work @ OTS-Oxford Therapy Centre
Oct 4 @ 10:00 – Oct 5 @ 17:00

Workshop series postponed until later in 2020/2021 - join our 3-hour online Zoom meeting (2 May)

We will find a new sequence of dates for this series of 5 CPD days, with everybody who enrolled for it. In the meantime, I am offering a Zoom Meeting instead on Saturday, 2 May between 10.00 and 13.00.

Please use the booking form to enrol for the Zoom meeting - the session is free, but we invite donations/contributions.

Solutions to the 2-chair technique's recurring pitfalls

Anticipating and understanding the obstacles and problems inherent in the 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 teaching and supervising it, I have concluded there are some built-in recurring pitfalls which are inherent in it. When we understand why these obstacles and pitfalls are necessarily bound to occur, we can anticipate and prepare for them and address them as they arise. This can actually enhance our use of the technique and make it more elegant and effective."

"I am expecting that in terms of the micro-detail of therapeutic technique (what you actually do and say as a therapist and how and in what sequence and with what timing), 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."

This unique series of 5 CPD days with Michael Soth, starting with an in-depth weekend workshop (2 & 3 May 2020), followed by three further days, is designed to engender both detailed knowledge and skill as well as confidence and authority, whatever level of experience you are currently bringing to this type of work. The follow-on days are spaced out in such a way that participants can apply their learning in practice during the weeks in between, and then bring their experience back for deeper reflection and further learning.

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’ them), by spatially - and therefore emotionally - separating out the protagonists of otherwise diffuse internal conversations and ruminations. 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 not only to see, but to 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. Download the booking form.

An edited transcript of an interview with Michael, addressing key points of the forthcoming CPD workshops on two-chair work; same interview as an mp3 audio file.

 

 

Nov
22
Sun
2020
North London – Ongoing Integrative CPD Group @ The Nebula
Nov 22 @ 10:00 – 17:00

An ongoing, broad-spectrum integrative group

This semi-closed group has been running for several years now (since 2015), 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
12
Sat
2020
Poznan (Poland): Embodied-Relational Workshop Series (3 weekends) @ Poznan (Poland)
Dec 12 @ 11:00 – Dec 13 @ 18:00

This series of 3 weekends is organised for a group of - mainly Gestalt-trained - Polish psychotherapists by Maria Pelko. There will be translation between Polish and English.

Dates: 18 & 19 July 2020 - 26 & 27 September 2020 - 12 & 13 December 2020

The workshop series will cover the following topics:

1. How to Work when Therapy isn’t Working

2. Embodied Approaches to Therapeutic Theories of Developmental Wounding and Habitual Patterns

3. Embodied Perspectives on Couples and Couple Work

4. Embodiment & Touch

A Polish version pf the workshop description can be found here.

 

How To Work When Therapy Isn't Working?

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 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’s subjectivity 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, blocking 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 body-mind 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 in spite of the client’s repressive and dissociative defences.

Michael Soth is an experienced therapist, supervisor and trainer who has been practising as a therapist and teaching therapists since 1986. He is one of the foremost body psychotherapists and trainers practising in the UK today. For many years he worked as the Training Director of the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy, and is a frequent presenter at professional conferences. He has been studying the significance of enactments and their therapeutic uses since the mid-1990’s, and has developed a unique relational body-mind approach that builds on an integration of humanistic and psychoanalytic perspectives. He is co-editor of the Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology, published in 2015.

This event will be open to psychological therapists (including trainees) from all modalities.
Early bird price before 22nd May 2019: £90, or after £99
Includes parking & refreshments but not lunch.   CPD certificates will be supplied

TO BOOK: https://www.bramhamtherapy.co.uk/events/

Jan
30
Sat
2021
North London – Ongoing Integrative CPD Group @ The Nebula
Jan 30 @ 10:00 – Jan 31 @ 17:00

An ongoing, broad-spectrum integrative group

This semi-closed group has been running for several years now (since 2015), 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
13
Sun
2021
North London – Ongoing Integrative CPD Group @ The Nebula
Jun 13 @ 10:00 – 17:00

An ongoing, broad-spectrum integrative group

This semi-closed group has been running for several years now (since 2015), 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.

Sep
25
Sat
2021
North London – Ongoing Integrative CPD Group @ The Nebula
Sep 25 @ 10:00 – 17:00

An ongoing, broad-spectrum integrative group

This semi-closed group has been running for several years now (since 2015), 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.

Jan
22
Sat
2022
North London – Ongoing Integrative CPD Group @ The Nebula
Jan 22 @ 10:00 – Jan 23 @ 17:00

An ongoing, broad-spectrum integrative group

This semi-closed group has been running for several years now (since 2015), 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
5
Sat
2022
Proposed CPD workshop: Engaging beyond therapeutic approach
Mar 5 @ 10:00 – 17:00
Proposed CPD workshop: Engaging beyond therapeutic approach @ Bristol | United Kingdom

Finding your own style within the spectrum of 21st-century psychotherapy

 

“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,

the world is too full to talk about.”

Rumi

In this session I will invite you to explore the therapeutic space beyond notions of right or wrong, beyond ideas of best theory, correct technique, practice by the book or manual.

I will invite you to use all your faculties, all your knowledge, all your woundedness and sensitivity to get a flavour of your own therapeutic style, that is free to draw fluidly and integratively from the wealth of therapeutic knowledge and expertise humans have accumulated.

As C.G. Jung said: “There should only be one Jungian therapist – me.”

Everybody else - including you and me - we need to find our own style, rooted in our own relational complexity and embodied in our own history, wounds and limitations as well as gifts and potential. As we can only find this in the moment, rather than through thinking or theory only, this session will weave between experience and reflection, between skills practice and discussion, engaging you with your next step at your growing edge.

 

We may draw from the following themes what seems most relevant and urgent.

Creating an open, inviting therapeutic space

‘Nothing human is foreign to me.’

What gets in the way of full engagement?

What limits the client’s experience of the therapeutic space?

Phenomenological enquiry into the therapist’s internal process: how is the therapist behaving habitually in ways that are, for example, fixed, limited, restrained, unresponsive or overly-giving?

Focussing on the therapist’s ‘construction’ of the therapeutic space.

Creating an effective transformative therapeutic space

‘Allowing the client’s unconscious to construct me as an object.’

What limits a full and deeply transformative process?

Phenomenological enquiry into the therapist’s external effects: how are the therapist’s responses/interventions countertherapeutic?

The doctor-friend polarity

therapy as treatment (‘medical model’) versus therapy as collusive friendship

objectifying/pathologising versus colluding/avoidant

therapy as relationship

objectifying – differentiating – identifying – colluding

The client’s conflict: habitual mode versus emergency

‘something desperately has to happen’ – ‘nothing has to happen/nothing to be imposed’

the client’s character conflicts / the ego-Self axis

A broad-spectrum integration of approaches

The shattered and fragmented postmodern wholeness

Drawing on the gifts and wisdom of the whole field (fragmentation of the field reflects the fragmented modern psyche – the integration of the client’s psyche into wholeness requires the integration of the whole field)

The history of schisms and conflicts in the psychotherapeutic field and how it affects us now

integration and dis-integration

cherry-picking approaches versus full-spectrum integration

therapeutic approach cannot be grasped by theory and technique – underlying implicit relational stance

The therapist’s habitual, wounded, fixed position

Moving beyond a one-dimensional therapeutic position

The wounded healer position

The therapist’s habitual position – inheriting the wounds of our family ancestors, our therapeutic ancestors, or cultural ancestors …

The therapist’s shadow

The dangers of integration

Shifting from therapeutic approaches to relational modalities

Gomez, Stark, Clarkson, Michael’s Diamond model: what kind of therapeutic relatedness?

Gomez: humanistic ‘alongside’ stance versus psychodynamic ‘opposite’ stance

Stark: ‘one-person psychology’, ‘one-and-a-half-person psychology’, ‘two-person psychology’

Clarkson: working alliance – authentic – reparative – transference/countertransference - transpersonal

Michael’s Diamond model: include ‘medical model’

understanding identifications - projective identification – transference and countertransference as systemic bodymind processes

Transcending dualisms and binaries into paradox

the relational paradox: transcending treatment versus relationship dualism = paradox of enactment

I-it and I-I relating

the bodymind paradox: transcending mind-over-body versus body-over-mind dualism = embodiment/disembodiment paradox

the central paradox of therapy: the healing of the client’s wounding is inseparable from the enactment of wounding in and through therapy.

The fractal self: a chain of nested matrices of parallel process

integrative/integral

relational

embodied

systemic

paradoxical

 

May
21
Sat
2022
Proposed CPD workshop: Working with Illness in Psychotherapy
May 21 @ 10:00 – May 22 @ 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.

 

Proposed CPD workshop: Narcissism in Therapy
May 21 @ 10:00 – 17:00
Proposed CPD workshop: Narcissism in Therapy @ Bristol | United Kingdom

Now he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool
And when he sees his reflection, he’s fulfilled
Oh, man is opposed to fair play
He wants it all and he wants it his way.

Bob Dylan: License To Kill

 

Narcissism has a reputation for being notoriously difficult to engage with in therapy, for a variety of good reasons, not least because the very idea of ‘needing’ therapy is a humiliating insult to the grandiose self. As one of the key modern ‘disturbances of the self’, narcissism has replaced Victorian repression as the psychological disease of the age, which means that the original theories of our discipline from 100 years ago no longer quite apply. As a dominant collective issue, as exhibited by the celebrity culture all over the world and all over the media, the term ‘narcissism’ has entered pop psychology and lost all precision and meaning. In order to be clinically useful, we need to have a clear, circumscribed definition of narcissism, and its origins and manifestations.

Beyond commonplace over-simplifications, the various therapeutic traditions have widely divergent ideas and theories about narcissism, leading to quite contradictory recommendations for therapists. More than many other issues, therefore, narcissism requires an integrative stance, that can draw insights and understanding from the various approaches and combine them, to provide a comprehensive understanding and therapeutic response.

Because the narcissist tries to approximate an image of perfection (attempting to manifest a grandiose self), this leads to a chameleon-like disconnection from the body, and an objectifying, ‘perfecting’ treatment of it. For many celebrities, the body becomes an advertisement of the False Self, treated like one more fashion accessory. More than many other issues, therefore, narcissism calls for an embodied therapy, reconnecting the person to pleasurable, ordinary human reality, rather than pursuing the delusions of a disembodied virtual self.

Because the narcissist was emotionally ‘used’ by their parent(s), their individuality was never fully seen and mirrored. Therefore, in the moment where we apply a generic diagnostic label and put the narcissist into the same category with many others, we are re-inflicting a lack of individual mirroring. More than any other issue, narcissism reveals some of the shadow aspects and weaknesses of our discipline. In order to make therapy possible, we cannot afford to rely on a reasonable and supposedly realistic ego-ego alliance: we need a working alliance both with the wounded, insignificant self as well as the inflated grandiose self.

This course will provide condensed understanding extracted from the various therapeutic approaches, specifically drawing from and integrating the various psychoanalytic, the humanistic-embodied and the Jungian traditions. We will combine the theoretical input with practical, experiential work, based upon vignettes and case illustrations volunteered by participants, to explore how these ideas may be applied in practice.

We will be drawing on the following literature:

  • Jacoby, Mario (2013, Reprint edition) Individuation and Narcissism: The Psychology of Self in Jung and Kohut. Routledge.
  • Johnson, S. M. (1987) Humanizing the Narcissistic Style. W.W. Norton.
  • Johnson, S. M. (1994) Character Styles. W.W. Norton.
  • Kohut, H. (2009) The Analysis of the Self: A Systematic Approach to the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorders.
  • Kohut, H. (2009) The Restoration of the Self.
  • Kernberg, O. (1984) Severe Personality Disorders: Psychotherapeutic Strategies. Yale University Press.
  • Kernberg, O. (1996) Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism. Jason Aronson.
  • Otto Kernberg, On Narcissism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyP92WLLqIU ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeVMtZns5Pw
  • Lowen, A. (2004) Narcissism: Denial of the True Self. Touchstone.
  • Schwartz-Salant, N. (1982) Narcissism and Character Transformation. Inner City Books.
  • Shaw, D. (2013) Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation. Routledge.
  • Twenge, J.M. & Campbell, W.K. (2010) The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. Free Press.