21st February lecture, 7pm

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.

17th of January lecture 2017

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.

13th December 2016 Carmen Joanne Ablack “Embodied Intercultural Ground”

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 Practice, lecture by John Heaton on Tuesday the 15th of November at 7pm

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.

Lecture with Prof Del Loewenthal

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.

Lecture on the 21st of June with Paula Hall “what’s wrong with porn”

What’s Wrong with Porn?

This lecture will explore both the pleasure, the power and the perils of pornography with particular emphasis on the growing issue of porn addiction. The controversy of the ‘addiction’ label will be explored along with the latest research undertaken in the field. Evolutionary theories of supernormal stimuli as well as an exploration of current social discourses on ‘healthy’ sexuality will be used to consider both the causes and potential treatment services for people experiencing problems with porn. The morally and politically sensitive issue of education will also be explored in light of growing evidence that the adolescent brain may be especially sensitive to erotic programming.

  1. Paula Hall is psychotherapist, writer and broadcaster who specialises in sex and pornography addiction. She provides treatment programmes for people who want to overcome compulsive sexual behaviours and also training for professionals. She is author of Understanding & Treating Sex Addiction (Routledge 2013) and Sex Addiction – The Partners Perspective (Routledge 2015) and Confronting Porn (June 2016).

Lecture with Micheal Soth Tuesday the 17th of May

17 May 2016 Michael Soth: Relational modalities as a foundation for psychotherapy integration

Whilst psychotherapy integration has been one of the most necessary, creative and productive developments in our field over the last 20 years, ‘integrative’ is in danger of becoming another meaningless sound-bite.

What does our integration include, and what doesn’t it? And what holds it together?

How broad and deep is the integration we are pursuing and therefore capable of offering to our clients?

Many therapists quite rightly ask: does it do justice to the integrative principle to cherry-pick a couple of different approaches and call this ‘integrative’? Are we not aiming at an integration that includes the strengths and gifts of the whole field, including all the theories and techniques?

If this is your aim, or you feel confused or disjointed as an integrative therapist, or you have misgivings about the effectiveness of your integration, this evening is for you.

Many therapists do not feel sufficiently prepared to hold a robust, broad-spectrum, coherent integrative position. Too often integration is taught whilst disregarding the irreconcilable contradictions between the approaches in terms of underlying paradigms, theories, stances and assumptions. This inevitably leads to a too pragmatic attitude which reduces integration to an eclectic pick’n mix of techniques, with therapists switching between different approaches in ways that are confusing and uncontaining for the client.

So how can we access the full wealth of therapeutic ways of working, without becoming everything to all people, diluting our therapeutic stance and losing coherence?

Michael has been working on this conundrum for the last 20 years, and developed a formulation which he calls the ‘diamond model of the modalities’. Based upon the different modalities of therapeutic relatedness (Petruska Clarkson/Martha Stark), it can provide a framework for your own ongoing journey towards integration between the diverse approaches and polarities within the still fragmented psychotherapeutic field.

Michael Soth is an integral-relational Body Psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor (UKCP), with more than 28 years’ experience of practising and teaching from an integrative perspective.

Drawing on concepts, values and ways of working from a broad-spectrum range of psychotherapeutic approaches across 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.

He has written numerous articles and several book chapters and is a frequent presenter at conferences. Extracts from his published writing as well as summaries of presentations and hand-outs are available at www.integra-cpd.co.uk, or find him on Facebook and Twitter (INTEGRA_CPD).

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 helen@counselling-psychotherapy-london.co.uk 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. 

Del Loewenthal on “Some Implications for Practice of Critical Existential-Analytic Psychotherapy, Counselling and Counselling Psychology” postponed until Tuesday 15 November 2016

The meeting on Tuesday 15th. March has been cancelled.

Professor Lowenthal will now be speaking on the 15th. November 2016.

Prof. Del Loewenthal, D Phil, C Psychol, UKCP reg., MUPCA (accred.) is the Director of the Research Centre for Therapeutic Education and the Convenor of Doctoral Programmes in Psychotherapy and Counselling in the Department of Psychology at the University of Roehampton.

A lecture by Dr Gottfried Heuer on Tues February 16th. 2016 on The Nature of Burn-Out and the Burn-Out of Nature

The Nature of Burn-Out and the Burn-Out of Nature: The Sloth and the Chickadee.  Socio-Psychological, Ecological, Sacral-Political and Ethical Implications. Jungian & Alchemical Perspectives.

Dr. Heuer writes “Introducing burn-out as a form of individual self-neglect, I make a link to current ecological concerns by drawing parallels between one of the most important European alchemist-healers of the past, Paracelsus, and, moving to recent modern times, Wilhelm Reich. I am particularly concerned with the later period of his work, and I want to show that he can not only be seen as continuing the alchemist traditions, but should also be respected as the first eco-psychologist. I shall tease out the spiritual implications of these ideas, towards a re-sacralisation of analysis and radical (eco-) politics, to end with suggestions towards facing the present dilemma of individual, collective and global burn-out in presenting the concept of ‘radical hope’ ”.

Dr. Gottfried M. Heuer,  is a Jungian Training psychoanalyst and supervisor and a Neo-Reichian body-psychotherapist.  He has over 35 years of clinical practice in West-London.  He is also an independent scholar with more than 70 papers published in the major analytic journals; his books include 10 congress proceedings for the International Otto Gross Society, Sacral Revolutions, and Sexual Revolutions (both Routledge, 2010/-11); he is also a published graphic artist, photographer, sculptor and poet.