The Society, founded in 1998, sponsors lectures and seminars on all aspects of psychotherapy. They normally take place at 7pm on the third Tuesday of each month during the academic year (October to July), in the Existential Academy at 61-63 Fortune Green Road, London NW6 1DR. £6 entry fee for if pre-booked via Meetup, or £8 payable at the door. All friends of psychotherapy welcome!
Professor Del Loewenthal What is post-existentialism?
Professor Lowenthal provides this introduction: “Post-existentialism is an attempt to offer a space where we might still be able to think about how alienated we are through valuing existential notions such as experience and meaning (e.g. Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty); whilst questioning other aspects such as existentialism’s inferred narcissism and the place it has come to take up with regard to such aspects as psychoanalysis and the political. Consideration is also given to the extent to which we might include some implications of more recent ideas—for example, those of Saussure, Levinas, Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, and Wittgenstein without becoming too caught up in them”
Del Loewenthal is Professor of Psychotherapy and Counselling and directs the Research Centre for Therapeutic Education, Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton, UK, where he also convenes Doctoral programmes. Del is also a Visiting Professor at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand and the University of Athens, Greece.
Del is an existential-analytic psychotherapist (having trained at the Philadelphia Association, London, established by R.D. Laing and others), chartered psychologist and photographer. He chairs the Southern Association for Psychotherapy and Counselling’s (SAFPAC’s) Critical Existential-Analytic UKCP/UPCA Psychotherapy Training Programme at Roehampton; and both the Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association and the Universities Training College. He is co-founder of the Society for Critical Psychotherapy and founding editor of the European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling (Routledge).
Del’s recent books include: Post-existentialism and the psychological therapies: Towards a therapy without foundations (Karnac, 2011), Phototherapy and Therapeutic Photography in a Digital Age (Routledge 2013), Relational Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Counselling: Appraisals and reappraisals (with Andrew Samuels, Routledge, 2014), Critical Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis and Counselling: Implications for practice (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) and Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling after Postmodernism (Routledge, 2017).
Very Brief Therapeutic Consultations: What Can Be Achieved?
In this session, I will discuss what might be gained from very brief therapy consultations of 30 minutes or less. I will demonstrate how I work in this modality with volunteers from the audience wishing to to be helped with genuine concerns. This work will then be discussed by those present.
Windy Dryden is Emeritus Professor of Psychotherapeutic Studies at Goldsmiths University of London. He works part-time in independent practice of therapy and coaching/
Lecture by Paul Atkinson: Heart and soul in the grip of neoliberalism.
Can we psychotherapists take responsibility for our contribution to the slow death of the welfare state and the post-war social contract? In 1981, in a Sunday Times interview with Ronald Butt, Margaret Thatcher captured the spirit of the emergent zeitgeist when she said: ‘Economics are the method: the object is to change the soul’. We are now in the fourth decade of a period in which markets, and in particular financial markets, are supposed to mediate social, psychological and relational values – the kind of values we therapists profess. Significantly, psychological life and mental health are growing concerns for the management of neoliberal market economies, as we have seen in the marriage of state therapy and cognitive behavioural psychology. With workfare replacing welfare, IAPT teams co-locating in Job Centres, and the psycho-compulsion of benefit claimants with mental health problems becoming a norm, groups of therapists, mental health activists and benefits campaigners have begun to campaign together to oppose the collusion of the psy professions and mental health charities with punitive DWP policies. I will talk about how these campaigns have been developing, and ask the audience for their own thoughts and experience of psychotherapy’s contribution to the neoliberal project.
Paul Atkinson has worked as a psychotherapist for more than thirty years, mainly in private practice in London. He was a political activist during the 1970s and made a passage to psychoanalysis though Jung’s concept of the Self. He has chaired two psychoanalytic training organisations. In recent years, he has returned to campaigning politics – opposing state regulation of psychotherapy and counselling, supporting activists and organising psypolitical events at Occupy St Paul’s, campaigning for the NHS in East London, running men’s therapy groups, and working with mental health activists against psycho-compulsion through DWP ‘work cure’ policies. He is a founder member of the Free Psychotherapy Network, and a member of the Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and Psychotherapy and Counselling for Social Responsibility.
This is a fee paying event. Book early to avoid disappointment. £6 via meet up and £8 on the door.
Lecture by Linda Cundy Psychotherapist In this lecture Linda will explore the two topics below. 1. The impact of digital technology on the practice of psychotherapy (websites for publicity, referrals via email or text, contact between sessions, mobile devices in sessions etc)
2. The use of Skype / video conferencing for therapy. Is it ever ok? What can and can’t be achieved? How our therapeutic approaches influence decisions, and my take on an attachment perspective.
This is a fee paying event, please book early to avoid disappointment as our events are booking up fast.
From biology to philosophy; Neuroscience and the practice of psychotherapy.
A talk by Dr Pavlos Filippopoulos A discussion of the basis of philosophical assumptions of psychotherapy together with a history of philosophy will be discussed. With the use of developmental theory and discussions around the relationship between body and self, Neuroscience principles will be explored and address the relationship between the paradigm and psychotherapy practice evaluating the use of either and how they develop currently amongst the trends of scientific enquiry and practice domain.
This event is now fully booked we are not taking any more bookings.
How might we adapt psychotherapy techniques to work with psychotic states?
Many if not most of us work with people who hear voices, experience persuasive delusions, or bizarre insisting sensual experiences. Such work can be the most enriching and inspiring work as a clinician – but also the most terrifying. An increasing number of service users talk of being triggered by psychotherapy, reporting that techniques such as interpretation can feel attacking and cause a decompensation. As a result many clinicians are scared of psychosis, a fear that contaminates the therapy space and blocks the possibility of a working through. In this seminar, I would like us to discuss how techniques might be modified to be most useful to clients experiencing psychotic self-states. And how this shifting of power dynamics can inspire our overall practice.
Dr Jay Watts is a psychotherapist, clinical psychologist and activist based in London. Jay spent 15 years working in the NHS including leading an Early Intervention in Psychosis Service, a large Integrative Therapy Service and a Family Interventions Project. She later worked as Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology at City University, and is currently Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London. Jay is on the editorial boards of the European Journal for Counselling and Psychotherapy, Transformations and Self & Society. She writes regularly for national newspapers as well as the academic press. However, her clinical work and the activism it inspires is always first and foremost. Jay tweets as @Shrink_at_Large in a small attempt to help complicate public discourse about mental health, and situate psychotherapy.
False Bodies, True Selves: Exploring Transpersonal Methods of Addressing Body Image Struggles
Presented by: Nicole Schnackenberg
Albert Camus once beautifully said, “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer”. The practice of embracing the darkness in our lives and discovering our luminous selves within this darkness is at the heart of the human experience. Such an understanding, however, seems rarely to be at the forefront of medical-model thinking. The emphasis, instead, would appear to be on escaping the winter, annihilating the cold, and banishing the icy parts within us.
In this Tuesday evening lecture we will explore a meditative and conscious approach to embracing the shadows related to appearance-focused distress. We will explore how to form a deeper sense of connection between our spiritual and physical being and think about how and why our identities get tangled up in our appearance. We will look at how we can move from the Winnicottian false self to true self by remembering, and returning to, our innate goodness and transpersonal nature.
Nicole Schnackenberg is a psychotherapist and therapeutic yoga practitioner based in Essex. She currently divides her time between her doctoral studies in child psychology at the Tavistock Centre, her role as a therapeutic yoga practitioner at Special Yoga Foundation, and her position as a trustee of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. She has authored a book on transpersonal modes of healing for appearance-focused identity struggles entitled ‘False Bodies, True Selves: Moving Beyond Appearance-Focused Identity Struggles and Returning to the True Self’ and co-edited a book on Body Dysmorphic Disorder: ‘Reflections on Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Stories of Courage, Determination and Hope’. Nicole co-facilitates the UK’s first ‘Eat Breathe Thrive’ yoga programme for food and body image issues in Putney, London.
Please note this is a paid event. £6 if booked in advance via the Meetup site or £8 on the door.
I will be inviting us to look together at relational potentials in intercultural and intersectional working. These speak to both situation and context for client, therapist and the therapy. Involving phenomenological awareness and a deepened development of capacity to work with self-confusion, inner tensions, paradox, polarities and the potentiality enactments offer in the therapeutic space and in beyond what is traditionally understood as the ‘space of therapy’.
Using vignettes from my life and work, and inviting the audience to bring their experiences into our dialogue together, I hope we can start to map something of what it means to chose immersion in embodied intercultural ground as the foundation of working therapeutically, no matter what ‘formal’ theoretical approaches inform individual understandings of psychotherapeutic encounters.
Psychotherapy as a Practice.
The practice of psychotherapy involves understanding ourselves and others. I will illustrate the very different notion of understanding between psychoanalysis on the one hand and Wittgenstein and Beckett on the other. It is now known that Beckett was very familiar with Wittgenstein’s work and greatly admired it; there is a close similarity between them on the nature of understanding and in other ways.
The fee is £6 if paid in advance via the Meetup site or £8 on the paying at the door on the evening.
18th of October. Prof Del Loewenthal: Some Implications for Practice of Critical Existential-Analytic Psychotherapy, Counselling and Counselling Psychology
Prof. Del Loewenthal, D Phil, C Psychol, UKCP reg., MUPCA (accred.) is the Director of the Research Centre for Therapeutic Education and the Convener of Doctoral Programmes in Psychotherapy and Counselling in the Department of Psychology at the University of Roehampton.
In exploring a critical existential-analytic approach (after postmodernism), it is suggested that if we are to enable our clients to be clearer in their search for meaning, then there is an urgent need to consider such questions as: To what extent are governments now really interested in their citizens’ wellbeing through state provision and licensing of the psychological therapies, and to what extent is this more ensuring a form of social control?
Whilst this presentation will be critical of, for example, existentialism’s inherent narcissism and psychoanalysis’s theoretical violence, this is explored within the context the increasing concern about the growing state influences on the talking therapies in our neoliberal society. There is an increasing danger that the psychological therapies (including existentialism) are becoming far more part of the problem than the solution. Is it time that psychotherapists should understand more about such aspects as capital governance, power and social inequalities, such that their clients can be less imprisoned by their sexual, capitalistic and moral bonds? Evidence and research in the psychological therapies will be considered as cultural politically practices, illustrated by how NICE works. It is hoped to raise fundamental questions about the nature of knowledge in the psychological therapies.