“The Body Speaks – Embodied Conversations in Psychotherapy” with Margaret Landale, Ewa Robertson and Michael Soth on Saturday 24th February 2018
The rise of body-orientated approaches to psychotherapy has seen the discipline shift from being the kooky poor relation of psychoanalysis in the 1970s and 80s, to a vital component in the therapeutic understanding of all therapists over the course of the last 20 years or so.
An increased understanding and appreciation of neuroscience alongside the development of effective approaches to treating trauma have shown that being able to work effectively with embodied presentations and communications will increase our effectiveness as therapists and offer greater and safer choices for our clients and patients, particularly those who are struggling with traumatic experiences or somatic symptoms.
In this one-day conference with three leading experts in the field of body-mind psychotherapy we will explore ways in which to attune to the embodied presence of both ourselves and our clients and how to facilitate body-mind communication and dialogue. There will be particular attention paid in our final presentation of the day to the skills required by non-body psychotherapists who might wish to respond to embodied moments that occur in the process of talking therapy. A Q&A Panel Discussion will round off the day.
Margaret Landale is an integrative psychotherapist, trainer, author and conference speaker. She specialises in stress-related and psychosomatic disorders and has taught widely on these subjects. She is a supervisor and trainer and has worked as the Training Director at the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy in London.
Her publications include ‘Working with psychosomatic distress and developmental trauma’ in Contemporary Body Psychotherapy – The Chiron Approach by Linda Hartley ed., Routledge 2009; and ‘The use of imagery in body oriented psychotherapy’ in Body Psychotherapy, Tree Staunton ed., Brunner-Routledge, 2002.
Ewa Robertson M.Sc., MBPsS, is a UKCP registered psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor with over 30 years’ experience. In 1988 she co-founded ReVision Centre in London which runs integrative and transpersonal Counselling and Psychotherapy diploma trainings.
She has become increasingly interested in the relationship between psyche and soma. Her approach to psychotherapy is based on and influenced by relational and body psychotherapy, attachment theory, developmental psychology, neuroscience, and post-Jungian analytical and archetypal psychology. She has trained in somatic trauma therapy with Babette Rothschild.
She also works at The Bowlby Centre teaching courses on the role of the body in psychotherapy. She has taught on other psychotherapy trainings, has a background in mental health social work and worked in the NHS, MIND and other public sector settings.
Michael Soth is an experienced therapist, supervisor and trainer who has been practicing as a therapist and teaching therapists since 1986. He is one of the foremost body psychotherapists and trainers practising in the UK today. For many years he worked as the Training Director of the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy, and is a frequent presenter at professional conferences. He has been studying the significance of enactments and their therapeutic uses since the mid-1990’s, and has developed a unique relational body-mind approach that builds on an integration of humanistic and psychoanalytic perspectives.
Session One (10am-11.15am): Margaret Landale
“Embodied presence, embodied dialogue”
This presentation will explore how we might recognise and draw on the intricate processes of embodied perception, attunement and presence; how to stay focused on what is unfolding in the present moment and how to enhance our capacity to work sensitively and empathically with the flow of emerging phenomena.
In this context, the therapist’s own capacity for paying attention to their embodied experience, attunement to their felt sense as well as openness and receptivity to the unfolding relational processes is essential. We will try to help raise awareness of both the possibilities and challenges we encounter when working with embodied processes and embodied reflexivity.
We will also explore how by paying skillful attention to the direct lived experience as it is embodied between client and therapist we may expand awareness together, facilitate an embodied dialogue and cultivate qualities of curiosity, acceptance and empathy.
The talk will have a strong clinical focus, providing a mix of basic practical orientation, clinical examples and relevant theory.
Session Two (11.45am-1pm): Ewa Robertson
“The Third Body”
‘It is a very remarkable thing that the unconscious of one human being can react upon that of another, without passing through consciousness’ (Freud 1915).
‘The elusive, deceptive, ever-changing content that possesses the patient like a demon now flits about from patient to doctor and, as the third party in the alliance, continues its game, sometimes impish and teasing, sometimes really diabolical’ (Jung CW16).
The client’s and the therapist’s bodies are always in dynamic dialogue across a space between them. To engage in this dialectical exchange involves the therapist in a mutual and collaborative struggle that is both in and out of awareness. So often we get caught in trying to fix problems to avoid the fear of merger or loss of control. In so doing we may miss the potential healing space that can transform both therapist and client and yet is not created by either. This emergent phenomenon has its own identity that we might call a third body.
We will look at how we can surrender our knowing and allow this third body to speak. The presentation will include a mixture of case examples, relevant theory as well as practical exercises.
Session Three (2pm-3.15pm): Michael Soth
“Techniques for expanding talking therapy into body-mind process”
Even the best therapeutic intervention can only be as good as the client’s receptivity to it, and that is not mainly a left-brain issue. Whether a therapist’s words ‘land’ in the client is not only a question of their content and meaning. Whether or not a therapist’s response is being received gets determined, largely pre-reflexively, by the client’s whole body-mind system, and that depends interpersonally on the ‘felt sense’ of the working alliance. Readiness for change (i.e. neuroplasticity) occurs at the edge of the window of tolerance (which Michael will introduce as having both intra-psychic and intersubjective dimensions). Practically, this often boils down to charged moments of heightened affect when the working alliance is in crisis.
As a therapist, how do you ‘catch’ and make use of these moments that are characterised by spontaneous body-mind processes, which occur between client and therapist before, alongside and in spite of left-brain reflections and words?
In this presentation Michael will focus on the principles of embodied-relational practice mostly in terms of embodied ways of being and working in those critical moments that arise spontaneously as part of the normal talking interaction between client and therapist. Rather than grafting new ‘body techniques’ onto their existing style and practice, the aim of this presentation is to help therapists to become more deeply embodied in moments of crisis and to craft spontaneously and creatively embodying interventions from within enactments.
Panel Discussion Q&A – 3.30pm-4pm