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Psychotherapy Skills for Counsellors

With the increased acceptance of counselling over the last decade, a growing number of client-centred and psychodynamic counselling courses have become available. BAC accreditation of these courses helps to maintain consistently high standards. However, these courses do not equip counsellors with all of the skills they need to help their clients.

Although counselling and psychotherapy training are now usually seen as clearly separate entities, counsellors often find themselves working in the grey area between the two.

As therapists, now trained in psychotherapy, but originally in counselling, Aswab offers this series of self-contained courses to attempt to plug the gap.

All courses run over a weekend, and are designed to help counsellors learn the required skills, not to become psychotherapists, but to employ the models or techniques involved in the couselling practice.

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Short Term Therapy Skills for Counsellors *
Psychodynamic Theory for Counsellors *
Transactional Analysis for Counsellors *
Gestalt for Counsellors *
Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Counsellors *

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Short Term Therapy Skills for Counsellors

Counselling is often seen as being a shorter process than psychotherapy. A counselling intervention will often only last a few weeks, whereas many psychotherapists feel that transference, central to the psychotherapeutic intervention, cannot really be relied upon before two years have passed in therapy. However, it is not necessarily true that counselling lends itself to a shorter intervention. In many ways it is less structured than psychotherapy, and does not impose as much responsibility on the client and counsellor relationship as in psychotherapy.

When counsellors are expected to carry out short term work, they often have trouble imposing limitations onto what should be a more open-ended, ‘gentler’ approach.

Over the last twenty years, largely due to the cost of personal therapy, there have been a series of proposals for short term psychotherapy. They are often fusions of different models, and tend to be of a fixed length.

They have various differences, but they do have a common purpose, therapist and client concentrate on specific issues, and the therapy is not generalised, but problem based. Such therapy allows a deep level of change within the area of difficulty over a short period.

This course aims to present the skills used in short term therapy, and the wide variety of models available, in a clearly understood fashion, and to allow trainees to start to develop their own models for short-term work.

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Transactional Analysis for Counsellors

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Transactional Analysis, or TA, first developed by Eric Berne in the sixties, has been extended over the subsequent decades.

The basis of TA is that the developing child learns to function in a variety of different ways, depending on what set of skills is needed; the creativity of the child, the nurturing of the parent, or the clarity of the adult. But these positive ego-states, as they are named, have their negative sides, which can cause problems.

One of the advantages of TA to counsellors is that TA specialises in the understanding of transactions, i.e. the ways in which people communicate with each other. Counselling can often work with the individual in isolation, whereas TA allows the client to recognise how the way they communicate affects others, and how they are affected by the way other people are.

TA provides a rich model with which to identify how the interior life of the client works, and how the client may well relate to the therapist in past-related patterns.

The course will work to acquaint attendee counsellors with the basics of TA, based on actual cases brought by the class, and to develop a full understanding of the TA model and its application, both in understanding and communication with clients.

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Gestalt for Counsellors

Gestalt is one of the most innovative forms of humanistic psychotherapy. Many therapists use Gestalt techniques, and techniques derived from them. Gestalt has a clearly defined model of belief systems and patterns of behaviour. It makes available a variety of techniques to allow the client to stay in the present for longer, while developing an understanding of his/her own internal contradiction. This allows the client to realise how s/he acts from, or gets paralysed by, various extremes of thought or feeling: desire/fear, come near/go away, good/bad, young/old, etc.

Counsellors will find Gestalt a particularly useful tool as it is wholly client oriented. It works in the relationship; it tends not to focus on transference and countertransference; it operates purely in the 'here and now'. It enables the client to get more in touch with what is going on, deepening the process before thoughts and rationalisations get in the way.

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Psychodynamic Theory and Skills for Counsellors

The whole effort of the counselling relationship with its diverse skills - attention, congruence, feeding back, and so on - is intended to enable the client to change. Increasingly, however, counsellors are expected to make the change happen faster. Also, and quite often, counsellors recognise that they are themselves being drawn into those same repetitive patterns that they are working on with the client. It is quite common for counsellor and client to become entangled in each others’ internal world: sometimes the counsellor may be perceived, even though this was no part of his/her intent, as attacking or rescuing the client.

Although they may not be recognised as such, the issues of psychodynamic relationships - countertransference, projective identification etc. - arise in the context of counselling as much as in therapy.

This course aims to inform counsellors so that these issues do not become ‘problems’ but, instead, become the basis of insight, tools to assist the counselling process and not obstacles to it.

The course will directly benefit Person Centred counsellors. It will also be of use to Psychodynamically trained counsellors looking to refresh or deepen their understanding of the counselling process.

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Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Counsellors

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) has much to offer counsellors and psychotherapists.

The model for change in NLP is:

Present State + Resources = Desired State

In this workshop we will concentrate on the 'how to' in working with this model:

Determining the 'present state' and 'desired state' of a client is a matter of Communication.

Effective communication needs Rapport - NLP brings to consciousness the basic rapport skills so that they can be examined anew.
Communication involves understanding, it is especially important for therapists to realise the state of the client from their unconscious cues - this is called Calibration, it can be broken down into three identifiable steps. Noticing these cues depends on Sensory acuity; what does a therapist need to notice?
Language is an important part of communication. Paying attention to the Representation system of the client and matching Predicates in visual, auditory or kinaesthetic language enhances rapport.

The client's 'desired state' (or outcome') is often initially unknown to the client. NLP has many simple methods to help a client to define well-formed outcomes: working with levels to gain a different perspective; stepping up and stepping down; Precision language Model; etc. etc. We will examine the important aspects of these in the course of the weekend.
'Resources' are "enabling states" drawn from the client's own experience. Some are common enough to be labelled: anger, fear, relaxation, hunger, etc. These can be resourceful or un-resourceful states - NLP recognises these states as being under control, capable of being explored and changed. We will explore ways of examining and recalling states. Thus enabling a client to achieve their outcome.
In all this the Attitude of the Therapist is vitally important. The attitude is embodied in the Presuppositions of NLP. During the workshop we shall examine some of the NLP presuppositions and what they mean to the work of a therapist.

 

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Why Am I Doing This?

Why am I doing this?

Care professionals are used to looking at the needs of others, at giving their attention to others. We can see the benefit to others of caring for them, but often fail to look at the benefits to ourselves of caring for others. We are so busy doing the caring that we do not make the ‘space’ to look at why we do it. Instead, we continue to work, and turn a blind eye to the consequences of our caring on our lives.

We are all doing what we are doing based on our own history and our own adaptations to life. We are not carers by chance. While we may feel that we just 'happen' to be doing what we are, in fact we have moved to our current position as the result of a series of decisions, (conscious or unconscious), which suited us better than their alternatives.

In this seminar, we will share the freedom to ask how our history has nudged us into the set of decisions that we made. ‘Why Am I Doing This?’ is a unique opportunity for us to give and get support, while tackling the questions we have previously avoided; to take a good look at those difficulties that hold us back, and may, if not properly acknowledged, damage our health, our relationships, and our motivation as carers.

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Assertiveness Training

Assertiveness Training

If you are shy, lacking confidence or just feeling that you are not achieving your potential, at work or in relationships, this course may help. The training is aimed at people who have either not learned how to be assertive, or those who have tried and found the skills difficult to sustain.

Being assertive does not mean being angry and aggressive - this is a common worry that people may have - that attending a course like this will change them into demanding and difficult individuals, who will be seen as aggressive. Nor does it mean being completely self-gratifying or selfish.

What it is about, is finding out what you really want, seeing what is preventing you from achieving your aims and then finding constructive and creative ways of overcoming obstacles, so that you are more able to get what you want, in ways that are the least destructive for you and those around you.

The course is set up to provide a range of gentle activities, which you will do alone, with a partner, in small groups, or in the whole group. These are designed to assist you in learning and recognising your own self-defeating patterns when you are confronted with a situation that you’re unsure of, patterns that leave feeling unsatisfied with the outcome.

There are two courses. One runs two hours, for eight evening sessions, once a week. The other is two full days, usually a weekend.

The topics covered include:

the difference between assertiveness and non-assertiveness,
dealing with criticism and conflict,
techniques for increasing self-confidence,
ways of becoming more self aware.

Follow-up

An important feature of this course is the half-day follow-up, after the course is over. This is to help people on the course to sustain the new skills they have learnt, report any successes or difficulties they may have had in the interim and to get support and feedback from other members of the group, who may be having experiences that they can usefully share.

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Race Awareness Training

Race Awareness

Our lives are increasingly effected by issues of identity, nationality, race, culture and religion, and there is growing public awareness that this is so.

But why are these issues so difficult to understand? Why is difference unacknowledged, when it is all around us? Why is change, and meeting others, so challenging and unnerving?

In this two-day seminar we aim to help to address the issues in a safe environment, to explore the challenges we may face when we encounter individuals, groups or social situations that are alien to us. Our interest on this course is in offering a balance between informing people about specific racial and cultural differences, and giving them some skills in recognising and working with those issues.

We believe that outsiders of any kind have problems in integrating, and that the society into which they arrive also has problems, although it may not choose to notice this.

We are aware of the sensitive nature of this work - it can engender anxiety, defensiveness and fear. Through accepting and exploring these feelings in a non-judgemental atmosphere, we aim to present the training in such a way that honest and creative dialogue may be made possible.

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Race Awareness Training For Professionals

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Our lives are increasingly effected by issues of identity, nationality, race, culture and religion, and there is growing public awareness that this is so.

But why are these issues so difficult to understand? Why is difference unacknowledged, when it is all around us? Why is change, and meeting others, so challenging and unnerving?

In this two-day seminar we aim to help to address the issues in a safe environment, to explore the challenges we may face when we encounter individuals, groups or social situations that are alien to us. Our interest on this course is in offering a balance between informing people about specific racial and cultural differences, and giving them some skills in recognising and working with those issues.

We believe that outsiders of any kind have problems in integrating, and that the society into which they arrive also has problems, although it may not choose to notice this.

We are aware of the sensitive nature of this work - it can engender anxiety, defensiveness and fear. Through accepting and exploring these feelings in a non-judgemental atmosphere, we aim to present the training in such a way that honest and creative dialogue may be made possible.

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} Press here to return to our basic Race Awareness course
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