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Change, Transition, Transformation: is another world possible? 12th Ma...

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York St John's University - Conference & Event

Lord Mayor's Walk


YO31 7EX

United Kingdom

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Change, Transition, Transformation: is another world possible?

Sat 12th May 2018 10.00 am - 6pm York St Johns University

PCSR’s Psychotherapy and Politics conferences emerged from an initial conference in 2008, organised by the Institute of Group Analysis, to commemorate the May 1968 uprising of students and workers in Paris, when revolution was in the air and so many of us believed that a new world was possible. PCSR has been holding an annual Psychotherapy and Politics conference since May 2010

This year’s conference marks the 50th anniversary of the May ’68 uprising and we invite you to come and explore where we are now, as therapists and activists, in relation to the longed-for transformation. It is often said that the rate of change is speeding up, but are these changes moving us towards less oppression, less discrimination, more equality, justice and freedom?

When does change become transformation in therapy, and in society? How important is it for us to believe that we are in transition to becoming fully functioning persons, mature individuals, that we are on our way to a better, fairer world?

Guest Speakers

Claire Fox: writer and Director of the Institute of Ideas. Building Resilience amongst Generation Snowflake http://instituteofideas.com/aboutus/person/claire_fox

Kris Black: psychotherapist, supervisor. Prejudice, Pride and Psychotherapy http://www.arctherapy.co.uk/

Leyla Hussein: activist, Founder of the Dahlia Project, psychotherapist. Breaking the Cycle http://leylahussein.com/

Manu Bazzano: writer, psychotherapist. Against Humanism: on Therapy and the Transhuman www.manubazzano.com

Building resilience amongst Generation Snowflake Claire Fox

Any social change needs to involve the young as activists. Yet despite the alleged ‘youthquake’ at the last election, recent cultural trends suggest a generational shift away from militancy towards a different type of politics. This new politics, which has led to the young being dubbed Generation Snowflake, is characterized by a retreat into safe-spaces rather than charging the barricades, less leading political debate than closing it down by no-platforming speakers for causing offence, less organising radical teach-ins than demands that challenging academic topics have trigger warnings in case they cause trauma. Significantly, whilst claiming the mantle of Social Justice Warriors who are fighting oppression and discrimination, the prevalence of Identity Politics seems to have had the divisive effect of creating competing victimhoods, with intersectionality often compromising the principle of equal treatment.
But is the accusation that young people are too thin-skinned and timid today just a lazy caricature? Are we instead witnessing a newly empathetic generation, especially sensitive to emotional harm and new layers of discrimination for example in relation to transgender issues, cultural appropriation? Or are we in danger of celebrating a lack of resilience when the young themselves report soaring levels of mental health problems, self-harm and anxiety? More broadly if we continue to police all public and private discourse for offence, how can we ever encourage the sort of open-ended and robust discussions society needs to tackle change? And if vulnerability and victimhood continue to the focus of political concerns, will activists be resilient enough to emulate May ’68 radical warriors?

Prejudice, Pride and Psychotherapy Kris Black

Details to follow

Breaking the cycle Leyla Hussein

Leyla Hussein’s talk will be based on getting a better understanding of Female Genital Mutilation, its roots and the patriarchal system it’s imbedded in, through exploring and understanding the socio-cultural context of FGM and the psychological implications that women affected by FGM experience. She will look at how to build and improve skills working to protect girls from the practice, including risk assessments, and identification of girls and women who have undergone FGM. She will share key skills for creating better safe spaces for women and girls affected by FGM. She will also explore why the legal system hasn’t worked here in the UK and she will unpack good practice on how to best work with FGM survivors in a therapeutic space. Leyla will also present her international work in the US, EU and her current work with the girl generation, the first Africa-led movement, now working with 10 African countries to end FGM within a generation, by sharing the photography project she created to show case grassroots campaigners and survivors who are tirelessly working to end FGM within their own community.

Against Humanism: on Therapy and the Trans-human Manu Bazzano

Transformation means changing shape, mutating; it is akin to metamorphosis. Most revolutionary projects of the past left the human unchanged and unchallenged. They often planned and described a better world in absolute terms without the ambiguity praised by Simone de Beauvoir as necessary in leaving the future open to active adaption and creative error.

Most utopias never left the narrow confines of anthropocentrism, whose origins are in Christian ideology and which for that reason still persevere in seeing the human as the centre of ‘creation’ with all other living networks merely as context, backdrop, and footnote to the human story.

Psychotherapy too, whether socially engaged, relational or myopically bounded to neoliberal notions of private liberty, is restricted to obsolete notions of the human. But care of psyche requires a metamorphosis of the human; congruence equally requires greater alignment of the self with the organism – an organism that is already (part of) the world, in rhizomatic contamination with the non-human. There is hope, then: psychotherapy implicitly invites a creative crisis that brings the human closer to what Nietzsche called the 'overhuman', a space where we can cultivate our vulnerability in relation to a sad, beautiful, and unfathomable world. A change in the human is the first step in changing the world.

WORKSHOPS Choice of 1 of 5 in the morning and 1 of 5 in the afternoon. Sign up on the day.

1 The Go Deep Game: Play for Change! A game developed to empower people to make real sustainable community development. Pat Black and Andy Smith

2 We are delicious! Turning up the volume on the voice of the silenced body to resource our incredible capacities for change. Mo Brown and Fae Bee

3 Playback Theatre A ritual space where a story of Change,Transition,Transformation can be told and made into theatre. Leslie Davidoff

4 Racism in Therapeutic Spaces How is the awareness and experience of racism changing the 21st century? Wayne Mertins -Brown

5 Change your story Using storytelling, mindfulness and creative writing to take you on your own 'Hero's Journey' Adam Sargant

6 Being present: the transformational healing power of ‘I Am’ access to the emotional body through gesture and sound. Graham Kennish

7 The Free Psychotherapy Network A discussion about therapy for and by activists - where are we now in our passion to transform? Paul Atkinson

8 The Shape of Change and Transformation How we hold the notion of change and transformation within ourselves Christopher Alderton

9 Frack Free Ryedale Local activists talk about the transition from concerned citizen to activist and how they sustain themselves Tim Thornton

10 Temple of Janus: a creative exploration The spectrum of positions embedded in our collective psyche - living the experience of the interface between politics, society and psychotherapy Mandy Carr and Fae Ford

Descriptions of workshops

1. The Go Deep Game: Play for Change!

Pat Black and Andy Smith, from Diversity Matters and The Go Deep Project The Game was developed in 2016 to support young-people to develop personal awareness, facilitation and leadership skills and make real sustainable community transformation. It was created by partner organisations in Spain, Scotland, Netherlands, Italy and Brazil, using a Deep Democracy approach to explore diversity inside ourselves as well as in community. Go Deep is played by a group over 2-4 days, building on successful community development tools and Processwork methods. Individuals and groups discover a freedom about how to deal with the difficulties and edges both within themselves and in other citizens that impact community transformation. The game values all voices, ideas and communication styles. It can involve, theatre, arts, music and more.

New versions are in preparation funded by the European Union and European Commission and its impact is being researched by University of Lisbon. It won a GENE award for innovation in global education in 2017, has run 14 times in different neighbourhoods with 18 more planned internationally. This workshop, run by two of the game’s designers, includes a short video, a chance to play a little and time for questions and discussion.

Andy Smith and Pat Black are Processwork facilitators and UKCP registered Psychotherapists and are co-founders of Diversity Matters, that has been working in Scotland since 2001 to find more inclusive ways to engage marginalised groups in change, particularly in the social care, health systems and community development. They are part of the original design team for Go Deep and are developing new versions to work on diversity and greater inclusivity. Both are registered training supervisors and teach in the Processwork schools in UK and Spain.

2. We are delicious! Mo Brown and Fae Bee

Our complex social challenges, conditioning and the old body-mind split thinking, still profoundly undermine the health of our vital animal selves, and interfere with our natural psychophysical balance. 1968 offered hope of a beautiful new world, but while there are new freedoms, much suffering still abounds, including within our own healing fields.

Neuroscientific work provides clear evidence – many are burnt out and even perhaps dying from preventable diseases, simply because we cannot switch off from our anxious brains. We urgently need to find values and methods that restore more inner serenity and gently resource our incredible capacities.

Drawing on the diverse pedagogy of East and Western somatic dance-movement education, this session offers the opportunity to turn up the volume on the voice of the silenced body, source of our intuition, evolutionary wisdom, and personal developmental story. Within a deeply warm and safe structure, each participant will be invited to find more sensitivity to and familiarity with their immediate, moment to moment somatic experience.

Previous participants report an increased sense of pleasure, more openness to connect and mentalise, and more imaginative freedom from mental constraints. This work can be emotional but participants are carefully supported in their self-care.

The session content We move from a gradual process of breathing and deepening inner listening, into offering opportunities for movement, sometimes with music, sometimes alone or perhaps with others depending on the individual. The invitation is to then take our experiences into imaginative expression through drawing or making, and finally a coming together to share our experience.

Facililtators: Monkeyspirit Collective is based in the North-West. We use the tools of dance, touch, play and improvisation to help awaken soma. We seek to arouse embodied imagination and stir curiosity and discovery.

Mo Brown is a mover who is passionate about the need for more mindful somatic awareness for healing, recovery and interconnection. She works as a psychoanalytic Intercultural psychotherapist, and as a NHS manager and trainer in staff wellbeing.

Fae Bee is a Chakra dance teacher. She works creatively with adults and children using movement as a form of expression. She also works holistically with young adults who experience emotional and behavioural difficulties. Mo and Fae are current students on the M.A in Dance and somatic wellbeing at UCLAN, Preston

3. Playback Theatre Leslie Davidoff

I am proposing a 90-minute experiential Playback Theatre workshop. Playback Theatre is not therapy, but it has therapeutic, social, and spiritual dimensions. It creates a ritual space where any story - however ordinary, extraordinary, hidden or difficult - can be told and immediately made into theatre. Someone tells a story or moment from their life, chooses actors to play the different roles, then watches as their story is immediately recreated and given artistic shape and coherence.

The workshop involves movement, music, games and exercises leading to the acquisition of Playback Theatre skills. Games and exercises provide a safe emotional container in which the skills of improvisation – basically, the skills of being present – are tried out, played with, and learnt. A collective empathy develops, enabling trust. Participants tell stories to each other. They learn to listen and to express and reflect back the stories, the feelings, and the meanings they hear.

Playback Theatre creates a sacred/ritual/therapeutic space for people to share experiences, moments, and stories. They are usually linked to a theme - in this case, the broad and easy-to-evoke theme of the conference, Change, Transition, Transformation. And we can dramatically embody - show, not tell - a possible future world.

I am a counsellor, supervisor, and trainer of over 20 years' standing (UKCP). Previously Senior Lecturer in Counselling at Burnley College, Director of FACILITATE (personal development and counsellor training), and currently in private practice. I am also trained in Playback Theate, and Co-Director of Threadbear Playback Theatre (www.threadbeartheatre.com) which has been serving the West Yorkshire community for the last 5 years.

4. Racism in Therapeutics Spaces Wayne Mertins-Brown

In most therapeutic spaces there is still a glaring lack of awareness and therefore unwillingness to address the racism in the therapy professions. People of colour who want to train as counsellors and psychotherapists face a barrage of obstacles in the form of implicit and sometimes explicit racism in the processes of training. Many therapists who speak and write about therapy and many of the people who run our professional bodies are unable or unwilling to recognise the pervasive impact of colonialism and slavery, and the ongoing racism that affects the dynamics between people of colour and white people. Theories are rooted in White Western thinking and assumptions, and finding a therapist whom you can trust to work with these dynamics is not easy.

There have been valiant attempts by individuals and groups of people to change this over the past 30 years, but is anything changing? How do we transition from being a profession that simply reflects the racism in the culture around us, to one that actively challenges and dismantles that racism?

I will be facilitating a discussion where we can share our thoughts, feelings and experiences as people of colour and as white people, about what the situation is now and what we need to do to change it.

Wayne is a Psychotherapy Counsellor and Group-work Facilitator. Now working mostly in private practice, he has spent many years working within charitable organisations, focussed on the mental wellbeing and sexual health of those who identify within the LGBT+ family. In particular, he has developed a speciality in counselling Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), gay asylum seekers. To date, he has found this work to be incredibly rewarding; the most impactful of his career.

As a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, Wayne is embracing of his spirituality and has recently started a journey to explore this further through studying ancient African philosophies. In doing so, his intention is to develop himself and his practice, by incorporating these ancient principles into his clinical work.

5. Change your story Adam Sargant

Change Your Story is a programme developed by Adam Sargant and Sita Brand, bringing together traditional storytelling, mindfulness practice and elements of NLP. Core to the programme is a creative writing exercise in which participants are invited to answer a series of questions identifying core beliefs about themselves and then coming up with metaphorical representations of these beliefs. They then use these metaphors to construct a story patterned on the Hero’s Journey, a story in which they enter the unknown and face a series of personal challenges, before achieving the goal of their quest and returning to the world, both personally transformed and able to transform the world. The programme has been externally evaluated and participants on average showed an overall increase of 7 points on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) over the duration of the programme. Participant’s feedback included statements like ● ...it has actually improved my life so much and therefore the lives of all I come into contact with. ● It has changed my self- worth...gratitude for how we are all dependent on each other and interconnected. The proposed workshop would include a presentation of the evaluation and take participants through their own Hero’s Journey as a creative writing exercise, along with an overview of some of the other exercises used and a brief introduction to some of the mindfulness practices.

Adam Sargant has a background of over two decades in mental health nursing. He has trained in Family Behavioural Therapy (FBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and is a NLP Master Practitioner. He is also a storyteller and has told stories at festivals and hosted the Haworth Storytelling Circle since 2012.

6. Being present: the transformational healing power of ‘I Am’ Graham Kennish

I work with a little-known modality, which allows access to the emotional body through gesture and sound. Patterns of fear, anger and anxiety can be accessed safely through gesture. New gestures can be created which counteract them in the way that the immune system matches the protein structure of a disease organism.

We can emotionally immunise ourselves against ‘reptilian instincts’ by discovering the gestures that exactly match our own emotional patterns. The effects are immediate – we actually see our own patterns, experience them and work creatively to match them, watching them dissolve. We find we can respond and no longer just react. We become more present as ‘Captains of our ship’.

The path is a self-directed one. It can be self-care for the carer and self-help for the sufferer. Above all it is experiential proof that we are an “I am” living in a mammal body. I am not my body. This becomes a direct experience, not a philosophy or a religious belief but an experience of Empathy which deepens through this universal language of gesture.

I think it has the potential to unite human beings across cultural and social divides.

No-one (myself as practitioner included) does anything to anyone else in a workshop. Everyone can follow their own process in emotional freedom, with no pressure, interpretation or analysis. It is entirely self-activated, with simple suggestions that one may choose to follow or not. It explains itself wordlessly, beyond language.

Graham Kennish is a BACP Accredited psychotherapist, working with stress and anxiety issues, mainly among teachers and parents of schools, which he visits as a trainer of Steiner teachers in science in the UK, now also in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In all three countries, he gives talks on science and on Steiner education as well as conducting workshops and personal sessions in a little-known modality called Psychophonetics. This uses gesture to access emotional issues in one-off sessions, in which a client can, beyond language, create a gesture pattern to take away and practice, until a new habit of emotional response displaces the old reaction.

Graham is a grandfather and lives in Gloucester with his partner Jane. He is also a Driving Instructor!

7. The Free Psychotherapy Network Paul Atkinson

The Free Psychotherapy Network was set up by activists, and activists are one of its main user groups. Is it a transformative experience? Does it change anything to work for free as a public political act? Apart from the Occupy moment, nothing for me has had the transformational energy of the post-68 decade - but that was my twenties and it too was a moment. FPN has definitely played a part in transforming my practice as a therapist, and it has helped me integrate personal and political life in ways I would not have been able to imagine a decade ago. I’d say another world is not only possible, it’s in front of our noses. I suspect this may not be an experience unique to me (though I’m sure it helps if you’ve paid off your mortgage). If we look back a decade I wonder how many of us feel both a terrible penetration of futility and powerlessness and, alongside it, a growing sense of political empowerment and the threshold of big change. I’d like to talk about my experience of FPN and working with mental health activists and others over the last few years (hopefully with another FPN person or two) with the aim of encouraging a workshop group to share their own experience of the last decade and where they feel they are now in their passion to transform.

Paul Atkinson is an optimist, a father, husband and grandfather, a psychotherapist, a political activist and the rest - roughly in that order of priority, except “the rest” actually comes first.

8. The Shape of Change and Transformation Christopher Alderton

I set out to creatively explore how we hold the notion of change and transformation within ourselves as therapists/activists, exploring the impact this has on our clients and society. I believe that in order for change and transformation to take place we first need to look inwards to see: where we have come from, where we are presently and how we view our futures.

This will be an immersive exploration into our inner-world. I invite participants to hold the idea of how they are in the present moment in mind as they create a model of themselves using materials. Forming a group synthesis to reflect and discuss their change/transformation. How this impacts clinical work and whether or not this moves us toward more equality and freedom.

I ask what is the impact on our clients and the wider field, if we as therapists are unable to hold that we are moving towards a fairer world as a fully functioning person. Also, we consider how 21st century living impacts the rate of change. Considering how technology is shaping how we view change in society; whether or not change is dependent on technology or physical relationships.

About Me: I work as a counsellor for RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and NAZ, a charity that specialises in supporting people from ethnic minority backgrounds. I’ve also worked across several Counselling Centres in London. I’m in my final year of training in Humanistic Counselling at Metanoia Institute.

I’m particularly interested in using a creative approach to express our ‘inner-world’ through materials and objects. I also focus on supporting people with their sexual health, sexuality and healing from the effects of sexual trauma. As a survivor of sexual abuse I’m a keen advocate of rising awareness while supporting other survivors.

9. Frack Free Ryedale Local activists talk about the transition from concerned citizen to activist and how they sustain themselves in the activism. Leigh Coghill

10. Temple of Janus: a creative exploration Mandy Carr and Roshmi Lovatt

Has political life become polarised in the twenty first century with Brexit and proposed walls between peoples? Have we further deepened the sense of us and them, of the powerless and the powerful, of the articulate and the voiceless? If politics is about the power of the collective and psychotherapy about personal empowerment, how does the political respect the individual and how do individuals respect the political collective?

This workshop sets out to creatively explore a spectrum of positions, beliefs and ideas which are deeply embedded in our collective psyche. From oppressor to oppressed, activist to passive-ist, stuckness to transformation, how do we individually and collectively hold different aspects within this spectrum, and how do we flow between them, within ourselves and in relation to others? These notions will be explored playfully, as the group are encouraged to creatively devise their own spectrum through movement, artwork and drama, bringing into focus the lived experience of the interface between politics, society and psychotherapy. This workshop aims to begin with polarities and move towards finding balance within this creative spectrum.

With our openness, warmth and humour, we will draw from our joint experience of working relationally with groups, cultural story and archetypal meaning.

Mandy Carr is a dramatherapist, clinical supervisor and senior lecturer in dramatherapy at Anglia Ruskin University. Her background as a Liberal Jew from Liverpool is a key factor driving her passion for widening inclusion in society. She is fascinated by intercultural work and is currently convenor of the BADth Equality and Diversity Sub-Committee. A number of chapters and articles include her most recent (2016) ‘Dramatherapy across languages’ in D.Dokter and M. Hills De Zarate (eds.) Intercultural Arts Therapies Research: issues and methodologies. Routledge, Oxon. She is currently undertaking a professional doctorate in Practical Theology and is interested in the connections between politics, religion and dramatherapy.

Roshmi Lovatt is an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist working in private practice in the UK. She is a qualified clinical supervisor and runs arts psychotherapy-based trainings and workshops around the UK. She is an Associate Lecturer Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge running experiential groupwork on the MA dramatherapy course, and also Associate Lecturer at the University of Northampton, teaching on postgraduate counselling courses. Previously she has worked within Asian Women’s organisations, with refugees and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors, with children looked after. Roshmi is a first generation British Asian of Indian parentage, having grown up in Singapore and then lived in the UK for the past 40 years.

More details to follow. Queries: melanie.pickles@hotmail.com


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York St John's University - Conference & Event

Lord Mayor's Walk


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