When Therapy Isn’t Working

“How To Work When Therapy Isn’t Working: Perceiving and understanding enactments in the therapeutic relationship” with Michael Soth – Saturday 2nd March 2019

Over recent years the most exciting developments in our field have come via neuroscience, psychotherapy integration (i.e. cross-fertilisation between approaches) and the inclusion of the body. We now understand that whatever psychological wounds the client is bringing to us and into the consulting room, we will in some ways become involved and implicated with them in ways that go far beyond verbal interaction. The term ‘enactment’ is being used to describe the ways in which the therapist is – inevitably and necessarily – drawn into the client’s wounding, leading to impasses and breakdowns in the working alliance.

There is great therapeutic potential in these cycles of rupture and repair that occur in the client-therapist relationship, but much of it occurs subliminally. So if it occurs unconsciously, outside of awareness, how can we perceive and understand enactment and respond creatively from within it? Whilst there are a multitude of ways of ignoring, avoiding and counteracting enactment, there is also increasing understanding that it has deep transformative potential* (see note below).

This CPD workshop is dedicated to deepening our engagement with difficult dynamics in the therapeutic relationship, and to finding ways of accessing the therapeutic potential locked within them. It is open to all practising therapists, and suitable for practitioners from all modalities.

We will go beyond the principle of recognising enactments as a significant feature of the therapeutic relationship, and attend to its phenomenological detail:
* how can we notice and ‘catch’ significant moments of enactments?
* and how can we access and make use of the multitude of perceptions, feelings and thoughts which occur in the therapist’s stream of consciousness?
* how, specifically, can we use our own bodymind experience and our conflicts, discomfort and uncertainties (i.e. what psychoanalysts cll the countertransference) to shed light on the client’s inner world?
* what fantasies and hypotheses can we articulate which give us information about the inherent dynamic of the enactment?

What you can expect to learn on the day …
• perceive the ways in which the client’s wound enters the consulting room
• register significant and charged moments in the relationship
• understand these moments in the context of the ‘three kinds of contact’
• collect in these moments bodymind information which would otherwise remain subliminal
• collect in these moments images, fantasies, scenarios, narratives which deepen our engagement
• link these moments to the client’s habitual relational patterns
• process the charge and pressure impacting on the therapist
• begin to consider interventions for relieving or intensifying the enactment pressure

A variety of preparatory and post-workshop materials, including hand-outs and articles, will be available.

* ‘Deep’ psychotherapy, according to Allan Schore, for example (i.e. therapy that addresses early developmental injury and attachment and character patterns) depends on apprehending, engaging in and transforming spontaneous enactments which occur in the interaction between client and therapist in spite of the client’s repressive and dissociative defences


Michael Soth is an experienced therapist, supervisor and trainer who has been practising 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.

He is co-editor of the Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology, published in 2015

Go to the CURRENT EVENTS page to book your place by clicking here.