Annual general meeting, followed by a lecture by Gill Westland on ‘Verbal and non-verbal communication in psychotherapy’

The Annual General Meeting of the Society of Psychotherapy will take place on Tuesday 19 April 2016 at 6pm, at the Existential Academy, 61-63 Fortune Green Road, London NW6 1DR.

Professor Digby Tantam, current chair of the SoP, has come to the end of his term, and will be standing down.  There are also vacancies on the Executive Committee.  All nominations for Chair and Executive Committee members should be sent to the Honorary Secretary, Helen Hayes, via email by Friday 25 March accompanied by the names of two members, one nominating and one seconding, the named nominee.  For the purpose of the election, a members is anyone who is enrolled in the SoP meetup group.

The AGM will be followed at 7pm by a lecture on given by Gill Westland on “Verbal and Non-verbal communication in psychotherapy’.  Gill is Director of Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre and a UKCP registered body psychotherapist, trainer, supervisor, consultant and writer.  She is a full member of the European Association for Body Psychotherapy. She is a co-editor of the journal Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy and an Associate Lecturer on the M.A. Body Psychotherapy programme at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. She is the author of Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication in Psychotherapy (Norton, 2015).

She says this about her topic:  the non-verbal aspects of communicating are often more significant in relationships than what is being said.  Relating to how a client is talking rather than to what is being said shifts our attention and we can pick up more of the background messages that clients are giving us.  Clients communicate non-verbally through the way that they speak, their posture, facial expressions, and more subtle phenomena such as the how they are breathing and how their skin changes colour.

These non-verbal ways of relating are laid down in early childhood before babies have developed words to communicate their needs.  Therapists too communicate non-verbally with their clients and there is now some understanding from neuroscience about the mechanisms involved in this client – therapist bi-directional relating.  Using awareness and mindfulness practices, we can develop the skills to notice both our our own physical experiences and to observe what is happening in clients and to learn how to interact optimally. 

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