The Question of Choice: An Existential Perspective - Ernesto Spinelli

The Question of Choice: An Existential Perspective - Ernesto Spinelli

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The Question of Choice: An Existential Perspective Workshop with Professor Ernesto Spinelli

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We seem to hold confused and contradictory views around the question of choice. On one hand, we tell ourselves that we are always free to choose who we are or will become. On the other, our clients (and, not unusually, often also we ourselves) say things like "I had no choice" in dealing with or responding to a particular set of circumstances. We become greatly upset and angered when it seems to us that some person or some agency is seeking to limit or remove once-available choices. At the same time, we react negatively to either others or ourselves making 'wrong' or unacceptable choices. We talk in terms of "my" choice and "your" choice as being our right to make regardless of the impact it might have upon ourselves, others, or the world as a whole.

But what does choice actually mean? And what choices in living do we really have available to us? Whatever the answer, what we can note from the onset is that the what is usually expressed about choice tends to be overly optimistic and solipsistic. In addition, choice is almost always perceived as being "multi-optional". But do these assumptions about choice provide us with an accurate a reading of we actually experience choice? What if the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre turned out to be right and choice turned out to be more accurately a condemnation than a matter of celebration? And what if it was the case that, most of the time, the choice option available to us was singular rather than multi-optional?

The issue of choice and "the freedom to choose" lie at the heart of existential thought and practice. In this seminar, I will attempt to present an overview of existential choice as I have come to understand it. You will be free to choose to either agree or disagree with the view on choice that will be argued. But, more importantly, I hope that, whichever choice you make, you will feel challenged.

This workshop will be hosted on the Zoom meeting platform where we will use our camera and microphones to interact with each other as a group.

To support practitioners in this time of extraordinary circumstances we are offering access to this group for a self-select fee.

The self-select fee is a radical inclusion policy to open learning for all colleagues. The guide price for this event is £20.00, however, we appreciate that income varies greatly in different locations and circumstances. Please contribute what you can to help us maintain inclusive professional training.

All the colleagues at ONLINEVENTS and the presenters we collaborate with are committed to working in a manner consistent with the BACP Ethical Framework, which can be accessed on the link below. When registering for this event you are agreeing to be present and interact in a manner that is consistent with this Framework.

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Professor Ernesto Spinelli

Professor Ernesto Spinelli was Chair of the Society for Existential Analysis between 1993 and 1999 and is a Life Member of the Society. His writings, lectures and seminars focus on the application of existential phenomenology to the arenas of therapy, psychology, and executive coaching. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS) as well as an APECS accredited executive coach and coaching supervisor. In 1999, Ernesto was awarded a Personal Chair as Professor of psychotherapy, counselling and counselling psychology. In 2000, he was the Recipient of BPS Division of Counselling Psychology Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession. And in 2019, Ernesto received the BPS Award for Distinguished Contribution to Practice. His most recent book, Practising Existential Therapy: The Relational World 2nd edition (Sage, 2015) has been widely praised as a major contribution to the advancement of existential theory and practice. His previous books include: The Interpreted World: an introduction to phenomenological psychology, 2nd ed (Sage, 2005); Demystifying Therapy (PCCS, 2006); Tales of Un-knowing (PCCS, 2006); and The Mirror and The Hammer: challenging therapeutic orthodoxies (Sage, 2001). Living up to the existential dictum that life is absurd, Ernesto is also the author of an on-going series of Private Eye novels, the first two of which are Scorpio's Children (2019) and Cruel Love Ways (2020).

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