Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy

workshop with Mick Cooper

What does it mean to connect to others in an in-depth way in therapy, and what is its impact? Research shows that relational depth with clients is associated with improved therapeutic outcomes. At a time of social disconnection, fragmentation, and fear, those connections may be more important than ever. This workshop will give participants an opportunity to explore their experiences of relational depth and how it feels to meet others at this level of intensity and intimacy: in both their therapeutic practice and everyday life. The workshop will look at the impact of, and psychological processes behind, relational disconnection, and the mechanisms by which relational depth can have a positive effect. The second part of the workshop will focus on means by which we can deepen our relating with clients; and we will focus on both face-to-face work and online/telephone counselling. Recent research shows that relational depth can be reached in online therapy, and we will explore the factors that can facilitate, and inhibit, the experience of relational depth in this particular modality.

A Pluralistic Approach to Therapy

workshop with Mick Cooper

This workshop will introduce, and look at the practical implications of a pluralistic approach to counselling, psychotherapy and psychological practice. This framework was developed by John McLeod and Mick in the 2000s, and has since been adopted by a number of practitioners and training institutes across the UK and internationally. The pluralistic approach is a collaborative, integrative perspective, deeply rooted in humanistic and person-centred values. Its fundamental premise is that each client is unique, and therefore may need different things from therapy. On this basis, the pluralistic approach creates a framework in which practitioners can integrate a wide variety of understandings and methods into their practice. A key element of this pluralistic approach is shared decision making: talking to clients about what they want from therapy, and how they might most effectively be helped to get there. The workshop will explore the implications of a pluralistic approach for providing counselling and psychotherapy at the time of the current coronavirus crisis, and its relevance to online delivery.

Goals in Therapy: Actualising Our Deepest Directions

workshop with Mick Cooper

This interactive workshop provides participants with an opportunity to develop their understanding of goals in counselling and psychotherapy, and to deepen their skills and knowledge in this area. The workshop is particularly oriented towards counsellors and psychotherapists from humanistic or integrative backgrounds: who are interested in understanding their clients as agentic and purpose-oriented beings, and wary of more mechanistic or ‘outcome-oriented’ goal-based approaches. The workshop starts by introducing the philosophical concept of ‘directionality’—that human beings are always oriented towards future possibilities—and looks at how this can be applied to an understanding of self. The workshop then explores what has been learnt from the psychological research about the nature of goals and goal processes (for instance, distinguishing between 'approach' and 'avoidance' goals). It then goes on to a more practical exploration of working with goals, including skills practice and video demonstrations, to show when and how goal-oriented practices can be useful.

Introduction to Existential Therapy

workshop with Mick Cooper

Existential therapy is a diverse, vibrant, and wonderfully rich tapestry of understandings and methods that has the potential to make a valuable contribution to the work of any counsellor, psychotherapist or psychologist—both training and in practice. The existential approach is one of the oldest forms of therapy, yet still one of the most innovative and radical. Existential therapy is orientated around the development of a deep relational bond with the client, which allows the client to explore the most fundamental aspects of their existence. This includes questions like: ‘What is the meaning of my life?’ ‘What choices can I make?’ and ‘How do I face the limits of my circumstances?’ This workshop introduces participants to the basic principles of existential philosophy and therapy, and looks at how practitioners of all orientations can integrate these ideas and practices into their own work. The workshop will be particularly tailored to therapeutic practice in the current COVID-19 crisis, looking at how existential insights can be used to support clients during this time. This includes helping clients come to terms with the givens and uncertainties of existence, and to make the most of their time despite challenging and disorientating circumstances. The workshop will be delivered online and includes self-development exercises (via a workbook), theoretical input, and large group discussion.

The Schools of Existential Therapy

workshop with Mick Cooper

This workshop will introduce participants to the principal branches of existential therapy active in the world today. First is the the daseinsanalytic approach, which encourages clients to develop their openness to ‘being’. Meaning-centred therapies, based on the work of Victor Frankl, help clients to find meaning and purpose in their lives. The existential-humanistic approached, including the work of Yalom, invites clients to recognise—and come to terms with—their deepest existential anxieties. Finally, the existential-phenomenological (British school) approaches takes a descriptive and de-pathogising stance, inviting clients to explore and understand their lived-experiences. We will explore the philosophical and psychological ideas underlying these therapies, and the methods and skills through which they are directly applied in practice. The workshop will consist of self-reflective elements and case examples, as well as theoretical elements, to bring the approaches to life. By the end of the workshop, participants will: understand the foundations of existential approaches to therapy, be able to recognise the principle branches of existential practice, and be able to reflect on how theory and practice from each of the existential branches can inform their own therapeutic work. The workshop is appropriate for training and practising psychologists, psychotherapists, and counsellors.

The Tribes of Person-Centred Therapy: Celebration of Diversity & Difference

workshop with Mick Cooper

Person-centred therapy is a wonderfully rich set of therapeutic approaches. This workshop will introduce participants to this diverse and colourful field, from its roots in the non-directive counselling of Carl Rogers to its many different contemporary forms. Our journey through the tribes of person-centred therapy will include the classical non-directive approach, focusing, emotion-focused therapy, creative person-centred practices, pre-therapy, person-centred experiential counselling for depression, motivational interviewing, relational approaches, and integrative/pluralistic perspective. For each of these tribes, we will explore their development and core assumptions; and participants will have an opportunity to get a lived ‘feel’ of these approaches through videos of practice and/or experiential exercises. This workshop is particularly orientated to students or practitioners of the person-centred approach who have—or are developing—a good understanding of the core assumptions and practice, but would like to know more of the diversity that the approach offers. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to recognise the main perspectives on person-centred therapy, and be able to articulate differences and similarities between the tribes.

Mick Cooper

Mick Cooper is an internationally recognised author, trainer, and consultant in the field of humanistic, existential, and pluralistic therapies. He is a Chartered Psychologist, and Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton. Mick has facilitated workshops and lectures around the world, including New Zealand, Lithuania, and Florida. Mick's books include Existential Therapies (Sage, 2017), Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2018), and The Handbook of Person-Centred Psychotherapy and Counselling (Palgrave, 2013). His latest work is Integrating Counselling and Psychotherapy: Directionality, Synergy, and Social Change (Sage, 2019). Mick’s principal areas of research have been in shared decision-making/personalising therapy, and counselling for young people in schools. In 2014, Mick received the Carmi Harari Mid-Career Award from Division 32 of the American Psychological Association. He is a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Academy of Social Sciences.

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