Confer - continuing professional development, seminars and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists
The Practitioner's Body conference
Two-day conference and workshops
09.00 Registration
09.45 Mirror neurons and other findings. What can neurobiology tell us about how we relate to the movements of others?
Dr Daniel Glaser
Evidence from other primates demonstrates exquisite neural overlaps between seeing and doing simple movements. Imaging the human brain has revealed extensive networks that bring together the execution and perception of action. Our own studies with dancers have shown how your personal movement history and expertise influence the way you see others move. These findings have generated interesting hypotheses for the development of social cognition and even empathy, but does this growing field offer more than metaphorical insight into the therapeutic process?

10.30 The therapist's breathing
Kim Upton
This presentation will explore how unconscious breathing behaviour can be triggered by internal and external factors and how our breathing patterns play a fundamental role in emotional shifts, either adaptively or mal-adaptively. The deregulatory effects of overbreathing on acid-base physiology explains a multitude of mental, emotional and physical dysfunctions. By quantitative measurement of breathing rhythm, pace and chemistry, dysfunctional patterns can be observed and corrected. Live demonstrations of the impact of external influences on our respiratory and cardiovascular systems will be included.

11.15 Coffee
11.45 The Therapist's Heart
Elizabeth Wilde McCormick
The heart is the most potent organ in the body for most people, and it is central in the intimate dance of psychotherapy. It serves two dimensions: it is inextricably bound up with the lungs for the transmission of oxygen and millions of blood cells; its connection with the nervous system means that the heart is implicated in all thoughts, feelings, emotions, and in stressful consequences of effort. This contribution will consider how therapists may learn to hear and use the feeling intelligence of their own hearts to remain courageous, compassionate, and well.

12.30 Lunch (vegetarian)
Plus exhibits, yoga class or massage treatment
13.30 Workshop Options
  • W1 The nature and effects of energetic transactions between client and therapist
    Gillie Gilbert
    Leaders in the field of Body Psychotherapy have used phenomenological and evidence-based research on the nature of human beings as energy-based systems. I shall be illustrating the effects of different energy systems on the therapist and client using the concepts of transference-countertransference and resonance.

  • W2 Deepening your awareness and management of your breathing
    Kim Upton
    This workshop is an opportunity to deepen your understanding of your breathing patterns and how these are influenced by the external pressures placed on you by the client's presence or material. You will be introduced to techniques for managing your breathing.

  • W3 Empathy as a tool; empathy as a risk
    Babette Rothschild
    This workshop will give therapists the chance to increase awareness of their individual talent for and vulnerability to empathy. Through exercises and demonstration, tools for using the therapist's body to increase empathy with clients will be offered and also those needed for the therapist's self-care.

  • W4 Re-sourcing the therapist's body: a mindful approach
    Margaret Landale
    This practical workshop will explore how mindfulness can be a vital resource for the psychotherapist. We will look at key mindfulness based techniques and concepts which support self-regulation, influence emotional arousal and contribute to relational attunement.

  • W5 The therapist's heart and health
    Liz McCormick
    This workshop will experientially explore our relationship with our hearts; how we can learn to listen from this complex organ, to regulate and take care of ourselves and thus better manage the demands of clinical practice on our mind-body self.

  • W6 Yoga Group
    Sue Staziker
    This yoga session is an opportunity to explore your bodily self in the context of the pressurised environment of a conference. We will focus on ways of understanding how you may be individually experiencing those pressures in your body, and how yoga can provide techniques for self-regulation and grounding.

15.00 Tea
15.20 The therapist's body as an instrument of empathic attunement
Babette Rothschild
Empathy is the most tried and true therapeutic tool, regardless of the philosophy or model applied. Usually we think of empathy as emotional attunement - being able to feel our way into a client's experience. We will further explore how empathy involves body-attunement, the therapist's body playing a major role. As such, empathy appears to be the result of interplay between at least four phenomena that have been identifi ed by neuroscience and social psychology: somatic markers, facial feedback, postural feedback, and mirror neurons. This keynote will focus on how these four dimensions of empathy interact between client and therapist in both helpful and unhelpful ways.

15.20 The role of the therapist's body in working with borderline clients; self-regulation and interactive regulation
Roz Carroll
Borderline clients are known to have a particularly strong impact on the therapist's body, communicating intense states either graphically or via projective identifi cation and dissociation. The sharing of affective states is mediated by rapid, non-conscious, implicit and co-ordinated exchanges between client and therapist, involving split-second responsivity of face, gaze, head orientation and micro-movement. The task for the therapist is both to selfregulate and interactively regulate the client. This ability depends upon the therapist being anchored within their own body, able to bear and attend to sensation, and allow spontaneous - rather than defensive - nervous system shifts to occur.

16.45 Discussion
17.00 End of day
08.30 Social Dreaming Matrix
led by Laurie Slade
Social dreaming is a way of working with dreams. In social dreaming we meet to share and associate to dreams, make connections were possible.

09.30 Registration
10.00 The relational, intersubjective body
Susie Orbach
I will focus on the ways in which we could reflect on the therapist's body to enhance our understanding of the individual or couple in therapy. The therapist brings her body, as much as her heart and mind into the room, and her body has an impact on the therapeutic situation. Similarly the bodies of her clients impact on her. We usually exempt the body from such discussions unless the therapist has an extreme reaction such as falling asleep. This presentation will focus on the importance of the relational inter-subjective body.

11.00 Coffee
11.30 Locating a place of wellness in the midst of trauma
Howard Evans
Many health professionals spend much of their working lives as direct or vicarious witness to human suffering. A slow process of traumatisation may occur, often referred to as burnout. In craniosacral work our first aim is to re-establish the patient's connection with their inherent health. This is not an idea but a perceptual state modelled by the therapist. It offers both patient and therapist a place of wellness around which to organise the chaos of trauma. This presentation will illustrate this process and how a sense of inherent health is available to us all.

12.15 Re-sourcing the therapist's body: a mindful approach to self-regulation
Margaret Landale
The inevitable high exposure to negative emotion and deeply held distress affects the therapist's physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Mindfulness-based approaches have been found to be highly effective in managing stress and facilitating emotional self-regulation. This presentation will explore the application of mindfulness in psychotherapy.

13.00 Lunch (vegetarian)
Plus exhibits, yoga class or massage treatment
14.00 Workshop Options
  • W7 Interactions, energetic self-care and subtle body connections in the therapy room
    Hartmut Wuebbeler
    Therapists of all modalities use intuition to inform their therapeutic work - in the process opening them to subtle energies. In doing so they can become drained or manifest their clients' physical and emotional symptoms. This workshop's emphasis is on understanding the energetic interactions between client and therapist and practical tools for self-care.

  • W8 The other's attention on our own inner state
    Howard Evans
    In this practical exercise we will, working in pairs, explore the effects of another's attention on our own inner state. This will be a 'hands-off' exercise suited to therapists working with or without touching.

  • W9 Practical strategies for optimising immune and mental health
    Mike Ash
    Immune disruption is a silent process that denies us optimal mental and physical health. By choosing nutrients, planning physical strategies and using microbial agents it is possible to repair and reverse the process, recover optimal function and vitality. The key components of immunonutrition will be explored.

  • W10 Containment through self-regulation and interactive regulation
    Roz Carroll
    In this experiential workshop we will explore the interlinked skills of self-regulation and interactive regulation. The therapist's self-regulatory capacity is critical to her ability to consciously and nondefensively calibrate interventions. At the same time as attending inwardly to her own body, the therapist learns to actively perceive the facial and bodily communication of the client. This deep attunement is the basis of interactive regulation.

  • W11 When your body whispers the truth of others...
    Dr Elya Steinberg
    Deep inside our bodies we know the truth. This inner implicit core within us, that uses information from mirror neurons, the autonomic nerve system and other mechanisms, knows how to read the implicit cores of others and enables us to gently communicate what is hidden beneath our clients' words or silence. We will explore the unique contributions of touch and inner voice with in the context of biodynamic approach..
15.30 Tea
16.00 Collateral Damage: How psychological stress can cause immune based illness in therapists
Mike Ash
If the immune system can induce depression, does working with challenging patients increase the risk of immune disturbance in the therapist? Certainly stress impacts on the immune system by activating endocrine pathways and the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn alters immune function making people vulnerable to illness including psychological and psychiatric problems. As practitioners engaged in information exchanges with distressed patients the impact of ongoing psychological unloading can have a distinctly unpleasant effect on your immune system. This presentation will explain the events underlying the concepts of injury, repair and protection of therapist's immune function, and teach you how to optimise your immune function in the face of third party stressors.

16.45 Discussion
17.00 End of conference
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