Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy - Mick Cooper

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Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy: Connection and Re-Connection at a Time of Social Distancing

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What does it mean to connect to others in an in-depth way in therapy, and what is its impact?

Research shows that relational depth with clients is associated with improved therapeutic outcomes; and, at a time of social disconnection, fragmentation, and fear, those connections may be more important than ever.

This workshop will give participants an opportunity to explore their experiences of relational depth and how it feels to meet others at this level of intensity and intimacy: in both their therapeutic practice and everyday life. The workshop will look at the impact of, and psychological processes behind, relational disconnection, and the mechanisms by which relational depth can have a positive effect.

The second part of the workshop will focus on means by which we can deepen our relating with clients; and we will focus on both face-to-face work and online/telephone counselling. Recent research shows that relational depth can be reached in online therapy, and we will explore the factors that can facilitate, and inhibit, the experience of relational depth in this particular modality.

Participation in the workshop is free, and a self-completion CPD certificate will be available for participants. Our one ‘ask’ is that participants commit to attending for the full day (10.00-16.00, see schedule below) so that we have a consistent community of participants throughout the day.

Participation in the workshop will be via the online platform Zoom. Please ensure that you have tested use of this platform prior to the event, so that technological problems are minimised on the day.

Once you complete your free registration you will receive an email with the link to a Zoom online meeting room.

The workshop will consist of both theoretical input, whole community discussion, and pairs-work exercises. All formats will be hosted via Zoom, and procedures for participating in the different formats will be explained on the day (they’re very straightforward). As we will be inviting you to participate in personal sharing in pairs, we ask all participants to commit to maintaining strict confidentiality: not disclosing something that has been shared by another participant to you outside of that context.

Participants in this workshop should be counsellors, psychotherapists, counselling/clinical psychologists, or other mental health professionals – either qualified or on an established training course. The workshop is open to participants outside of the UK, but you should be fluent in English (to be able to participate fully in counselling pairs exercises)


By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

Understand the nature of relational depth

Articulate their own experiences of in-depth relating

Understand the latest research findings on the nature, impact, and prevalence of relational depth in therapy

Recognise means of deepening levels of relating with clients, both face-to-face and online

Recognise their own ‘chronic strategies of disconnection’ and other barriers to relational depth


10.00-11.30: Experiencing relational depth -- in and out of therapy

11.30-12.00: BREAK

12.00-13.00: Disconnection and distress

13.00-14.00: LUNCH (not provided!)

14.00-14.50: Facilitating relational depth: recognising our ‘chronic strategies of disconnection’

14.50-15.05: BREAK

15.05-16.00: Facilitating relational depth: learning from our clients

16.00-17.00: Process Group

The process group at the end of the day will be a place to find support for anything personal that has arisen throughout the day and that still needs attention.

If for any reason you are not able to attend please cancel your free ticket on eventbrite so that we have an accurate sense of group size.

Mick Cooper is an internationally recognised author, trainer, and consultant in the field of humanistic, existential, and pluralistic therapies. He is a Chartered Psychologist, and Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton.

Mick has facilitated workshops and lectures around the world, including New Zealand, Lithuania, and Florida.

Mick's books include Existential Therapies (Sage, 2017), Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2018), and The Handbook of Person-Centred Psychotherapy and Counselling (Palgrave, 2013).

His latest work is Integrating Counselling and Psychotherapy: Directionality, Synergy, and Social Change (Sage, 2019).

Mick’s principal areas of research have been in shared decision-making/personalising therapy, and counselling for young people in schools.

In 2014, Mick received the Carmi Harari Mid-Career Award from Division 32 of the American Psychological Association. He is a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Academy of Social Sciences.


Di Malta, G. S., Evans, C., & Cooper, M. (2019). Development and Validation of the Relational Depth Frequency Scale. Psychotherapy Research. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2019.1585590

Cooper, M., & Knox, R. (2017). Therapists’ self-reported chronic strategies of disconnection in everyday life and in counselling and psychotherapy: an exploratory study. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 1-16. doi: 10.1080/03069885.2017.1343457

Cooper, M. (2012). Clients' and therapists' perceptions of intrasessional connection: An analogue study of change over time, predictor variables, and level of consensus. Psychotherapy Research, 22(3), 274-287.

Cooper, M., Chak, A., Cornish, F., & Gillespie, A. (2012). Dialogue: Bridging personal, community and social transformation. Journal of Humanistic Psychology.

Cooper, M., & Ikemi, A. (2012). Dialogue: A dialogue between focusing and relational perspectives. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies, 11(2), 124-136.

Knox, R., & Cooper, M. (2011). A state of readiness: An exploration of the client’s role in meeting at relational depth. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 51(1), 61-81.

Knox, R. and Cooper, M. (2010). Relationship qualities that are associated with moments of relational depth: The client’s perspective. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies 9(3): 236-256.

Cooper, M. (2009). Interpersonal perceptions and metaperceptions: Psychotherapeutic practice in the inter-experiential realm. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 49(1), 85-99.

Cooper, M. (2005). Therapists' experiences of relational depth: A qualitative interview study. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 5(2), 87-95.

Mick interviewed in 2011 on relational depth by John Wilson

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