Saturday, April 14, 2012

Emotion-Focused Psychotherapy: 2012 Level One Training

Facilitated by Robert Elliott, Lorna Carrick, and Anja Rutten
Tuesday 28th – Friday 31st August 2012, 9.30 – 17.00
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
(Sponsored by HASS Research & Knowledge Exchange,
University of Strathclyde)

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) – also known as Process-Experiential Therapy – is a humanistic, evidence-based form of psychotherapy/counselling that integrates person-centred and gestalt therapies, with particular relevance to working with depression, trauma, and anxiety difficulties. It has gained international recognition through the work of Les Greenberg, Robert Elliott, Jeanne Watson, Rhonda Goldman, Sandra Paivio, Antonio Pascual-Leone and others.  The Counselling Unit at the University of Strathclyde is again pleased to offer Level One professional training in this approach to qualified counsellors and psychotherapists (Diploma level or above).

Now in its seventh year at the University of Strathclyde, this successful, four-day Level One EFT training programme will provide participants with a solid grounding in the theory and skills required to work more directly with emotion in psychotherapy. Participants will receive an in-depth skills training through a combination of brief lectures, video demonstrations, live modelling, case discussions, and extensive supervised role-playing practice. The workshop will begin with an overview of EFT Emotion Theory, including basic principles and the role of emotion and emotional awareness in function and dysfunction; this will be illustrated by Focusing-oriented exercises. Differential intervention based on specific process markers will be demonstrated. Videotaped examples of evidence based methods for evoking and exploring emotion schemes, and for dealing with overwhelming emotions, puzzling emotional reactions, painful self-criticism, and emotional injuries from past relationships will be presented.

Participants will be trained in the skills of moment-by-moment attunement to affect, and the use of methods of dialoguing with parts or configurations of self and imagined significant others in an empty chair. This training will provide therapists from person-centred, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioural and related backgrounds with an opportunity to develop their therapeutic skills and interests.

Educational Objectives
Participants on the training programme will learn:

1.  To implement the basic principles of EFT
2.  To identify different types of emotional response;
3.  When to help clients contain and when to access emotion;
4.  To help clients reprocess difficult emotions;
5.  To facilitate emotional processing to resolve self-critical splits and unfinished    business.

Programme Outline

Morning: Foundations, Emotion, Empathy, & Alliance Formation
• Distinctive features of the EFT: neo-humanism & therapeutic principles
• Process-experiential emotion theory: emotion schemes
• Emotion response types & emotional change principles
Afternoon: Therapeutic Tasks, Accessing and Managing Emotion:
 • Therapeutic tasks and process formulation
• Emotion regulation 
• Focusing and Clearing a Space
• Skills practice

Morning: Reprocessing Problematic Experiences
• Empathic exploration, evocative empathy, empathic conjecture
• Evocative unfolding, Narrative Retelling, and Meaning Creation
• Skills practice
Afternoon: Accessing Primary Adaptive Emotions & Restructuring Emotion Schemes; Empirical support
• Empty chair dialogue and unfinished business
• Supporting the emergence of primary needs
• Helping clients use adaptive emotions to challenge core problematic emotion schemes
• Letting go of unmet needs
• Skills practice
• Summary of Research evidence

Morning: Active Expression Processes - I
• Dialectical constructivist models of self
• Two chair dialogue and splits
• Accessing adaptive and problematic emotional responses
• Skills practice
Afternoon: Active Expression Processes – 2
• Accessing core problematic emotion schemes
• Varieties of splits
• Adapting two-chair work to different kinds of clients
• Skills practice

Morning: Identifying Tasks; Open marker work
• Review of tasks
• Strategies for identifying and selecting tasks
• Skills practice
Afternoon: Personalized Applications
• Practical parameters
• Depression, Post-traumatic stress difficulties
• Social anxiety, Borderline processes
• Question & answer period

 About the Facilitators

Robert Elliott, PhD
Robert is professor in the Counselling Unit at the University of Strathclyde, where he teachers on the postgraduate diploma and MSc courses in Person-Centred Counselling.  He taught at the University of Toledo 1978-2006, where he was Professor of Psychology, Director of Clinical Training and Director of the Center for the Study of Experiential Psychotherapy. He has also been a guest professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, University of Sheffield, UK, and La Trobe University, Australia. He is co-author of Facilitating Emotional Change (1993), Learning Emotion-focused Therapy (2004), and Research Methods for Clinical Psychology (2003), as well as more than 100 published scientific articles or book chapters.  In 2008 he received both the Carl Rogers Award, Division of Humanistic Psychology of the American Psychological Association, and the Distinguished Research Career Award, Society for Psychotherapy Research.  He is editor emeritus of the journal, Person-Centered Counseling and Psychotherapies and directs the Scottish Consortium for Psychotherapy and Counselling Research and the Strathclyde Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling Research. 

Lorna Carrick, MSc
Lorna is a lecturer in the Counselling Unit at the University of Strathclyde. She is the course director for the Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills and teaches on the Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling courses. Lorna’s background is in mental health and project development and as a founder member of the first Health Board-funded person-centred counselling service in Scotland, Lorna has over sixteen years experience in counselling, supervision and service development within the field of counselling and psychotherapy. Lorna is currently the director of the Glasgow Counselling in Schools Project and Chair of the Counselling Unit’s management group. Lorna’s research has focused on working with clients in crisis within the Person-Centred-Experiential approach and the use of counselling and Pre-therapy skills in the field of autism services. She has been practicing EFT within a broadly Person-Centred relational approach since 2006, and has also participated as an EFT therapist in the Social Anxiety research protocol of the Counselling Unit’s research clinic.  She is committed to helping counsellors/therapists bridge the perceived gap between EFT and nondirective Person-Centred ways of working with clients.

Anja Rutten, MSc
Anja is an experienced and practising counsellor and supervisor and works as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Counselling at Staffordshire University. She is director of the final year of the MSc Psychotherapeutic Counselling. She also teaches undergraduate psychology modules on psychological interventions, counselling and autism. Before she joined Staffordshire University, Anja worked for the National Autistic Society, where she was responsible for leading and developing two UK-wide national services schemes, offering nation-wide befriending and social opportunities to people on the autism spectrum. She is currently combining her research interests in counselling and autism by studying for a part-time PhD at Strathclyde University under the supervision of Professor Robert Elliott, investigating therapy experiences of clients with Asperger syndrome and working towards the evaluation of person-centred/emotion-focused therapy for this group of clients.

Application Information

If you would like to reserve a place on this training course, please complete and return the application form overleaf. Places are strictly limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

The fee for this four-day event is has been set at £495. Please note that to keep costs to a minimum, catering is not included in this fee.

We are pleased to offer an Early Bird Discount of £50.00 to those who book before 1st July 2012.  To take advantage of this offer, applications must be received by this date with no exceptions.

For further information on this event, please contact Jan Bissett, HASS Research & Knowledge Exchange (, 0141 548 3418).

Please also contact Jan Bissett for other events and courses on our advanced professional training and psychological therapies knowledge exchange programmes.

Reflections on Review in PsycCritiques of Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature

Entry for 13 April 2012:


This is a really interesting book review and it sounds like an even more interesting book, by Steven Pinker: The Better Angels of Our Nature.  Pinker argues that contrary to what we commonly believe, human beings are actually becoming not more violent but less violent over historical time, and especially over the past several centuries, including the most recent 100 years. 

The APA blog folks are asking for comments on why Pinker’s point seems so counter-intuitive.  It seems to me to be obvious and implicit in Pinker's point about the role of the mass media in overall violence reduction: that learning in detail about others’ lives through accounts in books and newspapers enables us to find empathy and compassion instead of demonizing or dismissing others who appear to be very different from us.  It seems to me that the flip side of this is perceiving violence as more prevalent than it actually is: We recognize ourselves in the Other's suffering, accessing both compassion for the Other and fear for ourselves.

In the 1990's I did a treatment development study comparing CBT to Process-Experiential therapy for crime-related PTSD.   Given how high profile criminal victimization is in the media, and how preoccupied people in our culture are with crime, we were very surprised at how hard it was to recruit participants.  We ended up concluding that there is an exaggerated cultural preoccupation with crime, fed by the news accounts continually boosting criminal victimization into our awareness, making it psychologically more available than would be expected from actual frequency.  And that was before the CSI and NCIS franchise really took off after the 9/11 attack! 

And then there is the very human tendency to experience things as generally going to hell.  This is nothing new: it dates back to our ancient myths about the Garden of Eden and the lost Golden Age.  It seems that we have been convinced that things are getting worse for a very long time!