June 29th & 30th Online seminar via  ZOOM

Beyond Words: Integrating BodyMind and Relational Therapies

With Michael Soth, renowned psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer with more than 40 years of experience

Webinar with Michael Soth

June 29th and 30th

Beyond Words: Integrating BodyMind and Relational Therapies

Our Invitation to you

In this two-day experiential and educational workshop with Michael Soth, you will have the opportunity to expand your therapeutic repertoire beyond words, using body-oriented interventions.

At the same time, you will discover how to choose the appropriate therapeutic relational position so that your interventions are appropriate, effective, and acceptable to your clients.

Super Early Bird Prices


About the 2 day Workshop

Beyond Words: Integrating BodyMind and Relational Therapies

Online CPD workshop for practising psychotherapists from across the therapeutic approaches

June 29th – June 30th, 15.00 – 21.00

Online via ZOOM

“Human potential is like fish eggs – 90% is wasted.” Violinist Yehudi Menuhin

When you are engaging with a client, are you using the full potential of all your faculties?

Whether you are a therapist, counsellor, coach, mentor, healer, or any other kind of psychological or spiritual practitioner, which of your bodymind faculties does your practice rely upon?

Across the psychological therapies and disciplines, most of us have been taught that our practice relies upon the ‘use of the self’. In fact, unlike other professions, as a therapist that tends to be your one and only tool. How much of that tool are you using when you are working? Are you using it to its full potential?

What is the full use of the self for the purposes of being a therapist?

In this weekend we will bring together two neglected areas, which – when we finally begin to use them to their full potential, for the benefit of the client’s process and of our own effectiveness and impactfulness – create a powerful synergy.

  1. The holistic body-oriented and somatic perspectives beyond the ‘talking therapies’

We want to access and make use of the full multi-dimensional spectrum of your bodymind’s faculties and multiple intelligences: sensations, emotions, imaginations, cognitions, intuitions. Here we can draw upon the tradition of the body-oriented and somatic approaches, as well as the holistic and somatic trauma therapies. Although we now have a wide range of such approaches, from the Reichian tradition, to Focussing, Process-oriented Psychology and Sensorimotor, which all share an appreciation of embodiment and bottom-up ways of working with the body,

  1. The contradictory diversity of relational stances and modalities

Many of us as psychological practitioners operate from only one habitual relational position, which we have absorbed from our trainings and traditions and usually take for granted: we enter our consulting room, we sit in our therapist’s chair and take the therapeutic position. But when we look at practitioners from other approaches, paradigms and disciplines, we recognise that the success of their practice emerges from them taking entirely different relational positions. That begs the question: what is the full spectrum of relational possibilities? What is the diversity of helpful therapeutic positions? And what would our practice look like if we developed flexibility and fluidity between all of these possible and available relational stances?

Surprisingly, these significant questions regarding this neglected area of our field have not been clarified by the development of the relational movement over the last 30 years, although they are fundamental to our understanding of the therapeutic relationship as a relationship. That the field is comprised of a diversity of contradictory relational therapeutic stances, each making its coherent, necessary, valid and valued contribution, does not become apparent to me, unless I look beyond my own taken-for-granted habitual position and question its limited and partial place within the diverse totality of relational modalities.

This weekend will present a unique collective learning opportunity, bringing together explicitly for the first time two equally important principles of 21st-century therapy in a way that is greater than the sum of its parts: body-oriented and somatic approaches with the idea of diverse relational modalities. These perspectives have developed separately, segregated, over several decades, without ever properly meeting or cross-fertilising each other. There are only a few integrative formulations we have available to capture and conceptualise the totality of different relational spaces across the field, and for the sake of simplicity for this weekend we will use the model proposed by Martha Stark (rather than the other, complementary models by Petruska Clarkson or Lavinia Gomez).

Following Martha Stark’s 1999 book on “Modes of Therapeutic Action”, we will need to clarify what she means by one-person, one-and-a-half-person and two-person psychologies, and the therapist’s relational stance which these terms refer to. Because Stark’s definition of ‘two-person psychology’ does not match the traditional humanistic definition of the same term, in the sense of dialogical, authentic I-I relating, we will need to distinguish an additional category: the one-and-three-quarters position. So that gives us four different basic relational stances.

The crucial recognition which forms the basis of this weekend is: just about each and every body-oriented technique, suggestion or intervention which a therapist might want to use, can be elaborated from any and each of the four basic relational stances, but in a way which fundamentally changes the intention and atmosphere between client and therapist, and the way the intervention is likely to be received by the client.

Precisely because we are expanding beyond talking therapy and the client’s verbal-reflective mind as the predominant focus and emphasis, we want to be able to think about not just how the client’s mind receives our intervention, but how it is received by the client’s whole established bodymind structure, and therefore by definition also how it is being received by the client’s unconscious. In transference/countertransference terms we can simply ask: in the client’s (unconscious) experience, ‘who’ is making the body-oriented intervention (what person, figure or transferential object)?

That means we are not assuming – as most body-oriented therapists tend to do, due to the transgenerational lack of integration with the psychoanalytic tradition – that the client realistically perceives the therapist’s benign and helpful intention when making their intervention, but receives that intervention via the transference. In the language of modern relational psychoanalysis: the intervention becomes an enactment; specifically: the intervention can become the repetition and replication of a wounding or traumatic relationship, and therefore exacerbates and reinforces the client’s negative patterns, rather than bringing about therapeutic transformation.

The fundamental application of these recognitions when applied to practice involves a reflective loop in the therapist’s internal process before and when making an intervention, especially when making body-oriented interventions (something which the psychoanalyst Patrick Casement calls ‘trial identification’): how will the client’s unconscious receive the intervention I am about to make? Through the lens of which transferential object are they likely to experience me when I make that intervention?

Our internal reflections on these questions can initially be aided and informed by simply distinguishing the four different basic relational stances mentioned above: what shape would the intervention take from each of these four stances and perspectives. In somewhat oversimplifying terms, how would we make the intervention:

  1. from an apparently neutral one-person psychology ‘doctor’ or ‘teacher’ position (treatment and psycho-education)
  2. from a benign, reparative ‘positive transference’ position
  3. from a ‘negative transference’ position, which recognises the presence of a wounding person, figure or ‘object’
  4. from an authentic, dialogical position as a co-explorer

Understanding – as a first approximation – that all of these four positions can be involved, makes a profound difference to our therapeutic presence, to our awareness of unconscious processes and the fluctuations in the working alliance, and ultimately to the transformative depth and impact of the therapeutic space we provide. In each case we implicitly recognise that we are using the therapeutic relationship as a microcosm of the person’s life and way of relating, but we understand that our own focus and our own involvement is not ‘neutral’, but carries unconscious significance through the therapist’s implicit relational stance.

Format, learning environment and scope of the weekend

This will be an online Zoom weekend, organised in Greece for Greek therapists, but taking place in English with simultaneous Greek translation, so all English-speaking therapists from across the planet are invited. Michael’s work and workshops are integrative, therefore suitable and of interest for therapists from across the diverse therapeutic approaches and traditions. It will be most likely that participants will bring very different approaches and levels of experience to this workshop – we will try to do justice to this and attempt to try and turn that problem into a productive feature of our work together.

Although we will be online, communicating via computer screens, Michael’s teaching and workshops aim to be as experiential as possible within these limitations. Over the course of the weekend, Michael will invite participants to volunteer examples from their work for supervision demonstrations in the middle of the group. Some of the work will take place in small groups. Experiential work and theoretical input and discussions as well as group process and skills practice will interweave in response to the emerging needs and priorities of the group and its participants. We want to be mindful of confidentiality, and commit to a shared undertaking that nothing from the workshop will be indiscreetly shared with others, other than your very own personal-professional responses to the workshop. Based on that understanding, we are proposing to record the workshop, so the recording can be shared amongst participants for future reference.

Some of the possible learning objectives:

  • recognise the therapist’s implicit relational stance as one of the key factors which shapes a therapist’s approach, alongside theory, technique and meta-psychology
  • understand the characteristics and distinctions between the four basic relational orientations (as a further development of Stark’s model)
  • recognise and identify your own tendencies, repertoire and habitual inclinations between these four stances
  • learn principles and techniques for extending the talking therapies into bodymind awareness
  • beginning to recognise your countertransference as bodymind processes
  • understand the concept of ‘charge’, and how it relates to the therapist’s engagement across the full spectrum of the bodymind and relational possibilities
  • practising the reflective loop of trial identification: who may be speaking to whom?
  • notice the client’s avoidance and minimisation of charge, and recognise the same process within the therapist’s internal process
  • recognise the fragmentation of the ‘charge’ and the therapist’s process of ‘gathering the fragments’
  • reframing the ‘window of tolerance’ as a systemic concept, relating to the whole bodymind system of the therapeutic relationship
  • learning to take the ‘charge’ to the edge of the window of tolerance – working at the intimate edge
  • begin to understand the paradoxical simultaneous presence of the four basic relational stances
  • begin to formulate principles for crafting interventions which bridge the bodymind and relational domains, and link the fragments between them

The body holds stories and truths that words alone cannot express. Attuning to bodily experiences can deepen the therapeutic work and facilitate healing.

About Michael Soth

Michael Soth is an integral-relational Body Psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor, who studied, lived and worked in the UK between 1982 and 2021. During those four decades, he taught on a variety of counselling and therapy training courses, alongside working as Training Director at the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy.
Inheriting concepts, values and ways of working from both psychoanalytic and humanistic traditions, he is interested in the therapeutic relationship as a bodymind process between two people who are both wounded and whole.

In his work and teaching, he integrates an unusually wide range of psychotherapeutic approaches, working towards full-spectrum integration of all therapeutic modalities and approaches, each with their gifts, wisdoms and expertise as well as their shadow aspects, fallacies and areas of obliviousness.

His original training at Chiron in the early 1980’s was based on body-oriented holistic psychotherapy, strongly rooted in the Reichian and post-Reichian tradition (including Alexander Lowen’s Bioenergetics, David Boadella’s Biosynthesis and Gerda Boyesen’s Biodynamic Psychology). These approaches gave him a grounding in bottom-up, energetic, bodymind ways of thinking and working, which were supplemented by Gestalt, Process-oriented Psychology and a variety of complementary holistic bodywork therapies. Towards the end of the 1980s – through his practice and his own process – he began developing psychoanalytic understandings across a variety of psychodynamic orientations, like object relations, interpersonal and relational psychoanalysis, also including Jungian analytic psychology and Hillman’s archetypal psychology. During the 1990s, he became one of the early pioneers of psychotherapy integration in the UK, reaching further into other traditions and approaches like existential, systemic and family constellations.

Being deeply embedded in the body-oriented tradition through his original training, then spending many years familiarising himself not only with the theories and techniques of psychoanalysis, but through his own therapy and process absorbing the relational atmosphere that underpins postmodern understandings of transference and countertransference, he has become increasingly able over the last 30 years to build bridges between these traditions. Michael demonstrates that whilst there are many philosophical and irreconcilable paradigm clashes between them, in practice the contradictions can be I brought together into a coherent integrative way of working, although out there in the field the traditions largely remain as segregated as they were decades ago.

The topic of this weekend takes at its starting point the most simple and accessible formulation of psychoanalytic relationality, and builds a foundation for participants finding their own integration.

In 2021 Michael left the UK, and is now living near the rainforest in Central America, where he continues to work online as well as building a sustainable regenerative retreat and refuge, which will host workshops and trainings in the future.

He has written numerous articles and is a frequent presenter at conferences. He is co-editor of the Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology, published in 2015. Extracts from his published writing as well as hand-outs, blogs and summaries of presentations are available through his website for INTEGRA CPD: www.integra-cpd.co.uk.

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Live Streaming

Early Bird Price Until June 10th
  • Attend from your PC or Tablet
  • Optional Greek language interpretation.
  • Available to rewatch again for 30 days
  • Certification of Attendance

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