As we sometimes do at this stage in the yearly cycle of our planning, we now invite you to have some input into the priorities for our future programme. Here is a survey for you to express your preferences as to what kind of events you would like to see in 2018.
The main ideas on the horizon are:
1. Training for Group Therapists, Group Facilitators & Organisational Leaders
This will be the key issue of our March INTEGRA newsletter and is the project most likely to happen, in conjunction with the Oxfordshire project OTS. We are seriously trying to make an impact on the regional provision of mental health services (decimated by austerity), by building up a multi-disciplinary broad-spectrum integrative network of psychological therapies, and especially by providing more - and more varied - access to group therapy.
2. Mindfulness - Mindlessness - Bodymind Fullness
A couple of years ago I suggested this as a useful topic - some people keep asking me about it, but we need more participants to make it happen. You can read the full proposal here, but this is how it starts: "Mindfulness is all the rage and in fashion everywhere – in therapy, in business, in health. ... But the promise of mindfulness is already flagging, and people are becoming disenchanted with it and disappointed in it. ... As Westerners, we are in grave danger of misreading the Eastern teachings on mindfulness through the legacies of our dualistic, religious heritage. Instead of ‘attending to the body in the body’, as the Buddha taught, the idea of mindfulness can easily plug into our established dissociation between mind and body, and exacerbate the crippling established dominance of the mind over the body ... If confronting addictive mindlessness is difficult, and mindfulness constitutes a challenge, ‘bodymind fullness’ is off the scale – no wonder it’s not usually on the menu. But without ‘bodymind fullness’, we can work our mindful socks off, running past the point of exhaustion just to stand still, and still not get anywhere worth while. Without ‘bodymind fullness’, we're ain’t going nowhere."
3. Two-chair work
Some years ago I went through a period of running this series of 3 workshops on the nitty-gritty of 'two-chair work' in several places, until it seemed that everybody who was interested at the time had a chance to complete it. But now it looks like sufficient interest might have built up again. It's an eminently practical workshop, focussing on the recurrent problems and pitfalls which arise in using this powerful technique, and how to anticipate and deal with them productively. You can read the typical blurb about this series here.
This topic is obviously socio-culturally and globally more relevant than ever (we are now officially in a scientifically validated "narcissism epidemic", and you can find all kinds of instructional videos on the internet aiming to protect you from becoming the victim of a narcissist; unfortunately not so many videos are available on owning our own narcissism and what to do about that?). Some of this internet material is plain awful, some of it is fairly well informed, but most of it is lacking in depth-psychological understanding. I had been asked to run a workshop on this theme as it is of general importance to therapists these days, but specifically from an embodied and relational (Shaw) perspective (considering that Body Psychotherapy traditionally hasn't had much to say about narcissism), combining Johnson's character styles with the psychoanalytic controversies about narcissism (Kernberg versus Kohut), plus a Jungian perspective (Schwartz-Salant, Jacoby). This seems like a lot of material for one day, but I guess we could do a whistle-stop tour. I know from some of you that there is some interest in this - you can read the full blurb here.
5. Body-oriented Supervision Training in Greece (near Corinth)
There is a strong medium-term possibility that we may be able to organise a body-oriented supervision training in collaboration with Body Psychotherapists in Greece. I have met with one of our colleagues in Athens (I have taught a couple of CPD days for her students and tutors and got to know them quite well), and she has beautiful residential place near the sea in Corinth that would make the perfect venue. It's not going to happen this year, but because this will need lots of advance planning for all of us, it may be worth announcing now.