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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
Live Events Programme

Live Events

Psychotherapy in the Natural World
Healing ourselves and our planet

Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 September 2019 - Ireland
With speakers Angela Cotter, Mike Delaney, Marian Dunlea, Shirley Gleeson, Joanne Hanrahan, Matthew Henson, Lucy O'Hagan

For millennia people have travelled to "the valley of the two lakes" to deepen their connection with nature, a beautiful place in the Wicklow Mountains that inspires a sense of ancient worship, the numinous and the wild. This conference is an opportunity to come back to these roots with other psychotherapists to explore different ways in which we can enrich and expand our therapy practice. Together we will be thinking and experiencing our way back to our ancestral selves in an understanding of the other-than-human world and all that it provides us with.

Working with Repetition Compulsion
The re-enactment of unconscious childhood trauma

Saturday 14 September - London
A one-day seminar with Dr David Celani

The superordinate need of the child is not for pleasure or need gratification, but for an intense relationship with another person… If only painful experiences are provided, the child does not give up looking for pleasurable experiences elsewhere, but seeks pain as a vehicle for interaction with the significant other. It is the contact, not the pleasure which is primary... Painful feelings, self destructive relationships, self-sabotaging situations, are re-created throughout life as vehicles for the perpetuation of early ties to significant others. Mitchell, 1988 (p:27).

One of the most perplexing psychological problems faced by psychotherapists is the apparently normal patient who seeks out one abusive partner after another. This common phenomenon, an attachment to "bad objects", is at the very core of the analytic model developed by W.R.D. Fairbairn (1889-1964). Fairbairn recognised that the child is absolutely dependent on their parents for all of their physical and psychological needs. The child raised in an uncaring family cannot tolerate "knowing" that they are being neglected or abused as this would endanger their emotional attachment to the desperately needed parents. One psychological solution that they have is to dissociate memories of abuse or neglect, thus preserving the attachments and creating a sense of security. Unfortunately, as we will see, such early dissociated interpersonal experiences - quite unknown to the conscious ego - lie dormant, often to resurface with sexual partners in adulthood in the form of dysfunctional relationships.

Confer's Annual Psychgeist Conference
Is Psychotherapy a Relationship or a Cure?

Saturday 21 September - London
With speakers Shoshi Asheri, Dr Anne Alvarez, Dr Richard Gipps, Dr Carine Minne, Professor Dany Nobus, Dr Jay Watts and Judy Yellin

Last year we asked the thought-provoking question What is Normal? as the topic for our think-tank conference to celebrate our 20 anniversary. Somewhat beyond our expectations, the question generated some brilliant, fresh and new perspectives about the therapy process. And so we have posed another challenging question for our speakers to answer: is psychotherapy a relationship or a treatment? Our aim is to explore the dichotomy between the medical model of assessment, treatment, cure in contrast to its antithesis - a process of exploration between two people, one which focuses on the needs of one but in which each participant draws on their own subjectivities and histories.

Developing and Repairing Trust
An Attachment-based Model of Family Therapy

Friday 27 September 2019 - London
A One Day Workshop with Dr Dan Hughes

The theories and research of attachment, intersubjectivity, and neurobiology have created a strong foundation for a model of family therapy that creates both the safety needed for parents and children to be openly present in the sessions as well as the patterns of engagement and exploration needed to create new family relational patterns. Parenting is very challenging, being influenced by the parent's own attachment histories as well as by evolving models of family and community life. Finding a middle way between permissive and authoritarian approaches to parenting is often difficult when parents do not have their own attachment history as an effective guide. Parents are supported to remain open and engaged with their children while addressing the challenges of family living.

In the Name of the Father
Saturday 5 October 2019 - Dublin
A one-day conference with Dermot Bolger, Andrew Samuels, Ross Skelton, and Brendan Staunton SJ

The theme of this day is, in part, inspired by Sigmund Freud's observation that the death of the father is the most significant moment in a man's life. This must surely be true for many, but Freud's concept of the Oedipus complex is now considered problematic. Written in a time and place radically different from contemporary Ireland, his view of the boy's emerging sexual identity within the traditional family now requires a fresh theoretical framework to explain the many meanings of fatherhood today, and the developmental task of becoming a man.

The Psychotherapy Supervision Lab
Saturday 12 October 2019 - London
With Prof Mary Hepworth (previously Mary Target), Prof Jeremy Holmes and Ann Shearer

This day will provide a unique opportunity to discover the extent to which different psychotherapists diverge in their theory and technique when we compare them through the lens of live supervision. Our three presenters have been chosen both for their extensive experience as therapists and supervisors. By working before the audience with a case presenter acting as supervisee, we will gain a glimpse into the normally hidden world of supervision. Each session will begin with an outline of our presenters' understanding of the supervisory role, followed by a brief introduction by their guest supervisee to their case. This will be followed a 50 minute unrehearsed live supervision. Together, each supervisory couple will explore what breakthroughs in the treatment might emerge.

Working with Gender Diversity
Saturday 19 October 2019 - Ireland
Led by Dr Meg-John Barker

We are in the midst of a massive moral panic about gender. We know that it is closely related to mental health struggles such as high rates of suicide, addiction, and violence among men, and high rates of depression, anxiety, body image, and self-esteem issues among women. However, attempts to question rigid binary notions of gender or to see gender as something that can be more flexible and fluid are often regarded as highly threatening.

The Pleasures and Perils of a Psychotherapeutic Career
Saturday 2 November 2019 - London
A One-Day Workshop with Professor Brett Kahr

The psychotherapist can help restore broken marriages and mend shattered families. The psychotherapist also has the potential to save people from killing themselves. Yet the burdens of working psychotherapeutically can be immense, not only emotionally, but, also, medically across the life cycle. In this specially constructed one-day workshop, Professor Brett Kahr will share his extensive forty years of experience, investigating both the pitfalls and the pleasures of this unusual but vital profession.

Being Present with Suffering
Saturday 23 November 2019 - London
A one-day seminar led by Nigel Wellings and Elizabeth Wilde McCormick

There is something about everything that makes it not quite satisfactory. Even things we really love are spoilt by not being quite enough or - the opposite - going on too long. People entering psychotherapy want to feel better - more authoritative, less anxious or depressed, more whole - and although it can help, an enormous amount of difficult and painful emotions continue to arise. After years and years of therapy many of us feel as mad as ever. There is no 'happy ever after'. This all begs the question; what is the place of suffering in human experience and how best can we be with it?

Disordered Eating: Working With and Through the Body/Mind of Patient and Therapist
Saturday 30 November 2019 - London
With Yeva Feldman, Morit Heitzler and Susie Orbach

This conference will be grounded in the most up to date thinking on eating problems, as well as offering some substantial and inspiring assistance to those working with this challenging client group. Traditionally, the term "eating disorder" is a medical expression encompassing the various psychiatric diagnoses referred to in the DSM 5.

Moving Out of the Chair: Freeing up Creative Potential in the Therapeutic Relationship
Saturday 7 December 2019 - London
With Roz Carroll, Yeva Feldman and Sissy Lykou

How often do you feel 'stuck' in the chair when working with a client? Would you like to bring in other elements that support a transition into using the space? Many practitioners lack a sense of permission or training to know how to track micro-movements and to use kinaesthetic empathy to enable the client to take these further. We will draw on recognised approaches in psychotherapy which focus on embodiment and share ways of exploring the co-created relationship outside the confines of the chair.

The Therapeutic Frame: Is it Central to the Cure?
Saturday 14 December 2019 - London
With Dr Maria Luca, Prof Alistair Ross, Maktuno Suit and Nick Totton

The therapeutic frame has evolved over 130 years, from being a practical appointment system for a meeting between analyst and patient, to a key component of the practitioner's skill. Traditionally, it has been seen as providing consistency, reliability, confidentiality; of preserving a screen of anonymity around the psychotherapist, which allows the patient or client the freedom to freely roam their transferences and projections onto that person.

Book of the Month
Brett Kahr's Top Ten Psychotherapy Books - 2018
Professor Brett Kahr certainly knows something about the art of authoring books. Over the years he has written or edited twelve volumes, and has served as series editor of some fifty further titles. Earlier this year, he published New Horizons in Forensic Psychotherapy: Exploring the Work of Estela V. Welldon (Karnac Books, 2018)... More >>
Watch this
Helen Fisher: The brain in love

Why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher and her research team took MRIs of people in love — and people who had just been dumped... view...

Did you know?
The Latest Neuroimaging Findings in Borderline Personality Disorder

Altered function in neurotransmitter systems including the serotonin, glutamate, and GABA systems was observed in patients with BPD... read more...