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Confer
Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships
Live Events Programme




Live Events



Women on the Couch - the seminar series
Thursday evenings, 13 September to 13 December 2018 - London
With Susanna Abse, Dr Meg-John Barker, Sarah Benamer, Roz Carroll, Jocelyn Chaplin, Prophecy Coles, Jane Czyzselska, Marion Green, Janice Hiller, Dr Amanda Jones, Dr Dianne Lefevre, Dr Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga, Anna Motz, Emma Palmer (formerly Kamalamani), Holli Rubin, Anna Santamouris, Dr Maggie Turp, Valentino Vecchietti, Maria Xrisoula and Heba Zaphiriou-Zarifi

Holding in mind that hysteria was considered a female mental disorder for over 4000 years and has been inextricably linked with the origins of psychoanalysis, this unique seminar series asks how far we have come in our understanding of the female psyche and the treatment of female patients in psychotherapy.

Small Earth
Psychotherapists, ecologists, economists, philosophical and spiritual thinkers ask: can we return to living within the terms of Earth's ecosphere?

Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 November 2018 - Suffolk
Judith Anderson, James Barrett, Teresa Belton, Beth Collier, Amrita Bhohi, Dr Kim Brown, Dr Mick Collins, Dr Andrew Fellows, Marion Green, Melissa Harrison, Professor Tim Jackson, Paul Maiteny, Dr Alastair McIntosh, Chris Packham, Mary-Jayne Rust and Dr Yuriko Sato

Among the millions of people worried about our environment, there is a growing community of psychotherapists who are bringing ecological understanding and appreciation closer to the heart of their work. These eco-psychologists share a profound concern for species extinction, environmental degradation and climate change. They view the wild as a place that supports psychological well-being, and that the unconstrained use of the planet as a resource counters all aspects of healthy and sustainable living; that living eco-systemically means appreciating and acting on the reality that humans are an intrinsic parts of Earth's eco-system, not a species separate from it.

Regression: a necessary state of mind for therapeutic growth?
Saturday 17 November 2018 - London
With Dr Lorraine Price, Dr Adah Sachs and Marcus West

This meeting will consider how we respond therapeutically when our client seems to be relating to us from a young or regressed self-state. Each of our speakers will approach the subject by considering what early relational experiences the client may be describing by embodying this younger self. What happened for them at that age? What meanings do we make of such frozen self-states? When the client suddenly speaks in a childlike voice or wears clothes suited to a much younger person, what feelings does that arouse for the therapist? How do we recognise and assimilate a parental countertransference that seems to belong to their story? How can this be thought and talked about to facilitate a therapeutic resolution?

Confer's 20th Anniversary Conference
What is Normal?

Saturday 24 November 2018 - London
With speakers Roz Carroll, Dr Christopher Clulow, Professor Brett Kahr, Dr Phil Mollon, Dr Susie Orbach, Professor Andrew Samuels, Ann Shearer, Dr Valerie Sinason, Lennox Thomas, Dr Felicity de Zulueta

At this special event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Confer's work we have set our speakers a thorny question to answer: what is normal? The subject, while posing important questions about some very binary ideas of sanity and madness, health and illness, predictability and instability, also offers a platform for us to elaborate when and how the concept or normality informs our work - if at all.

Reading, Writing, Listening:
A symposium with Adam Phillips
With Josh Cohen, Howard Cooper and Laura Marcus

Saturday 1 December 2018 - London
With Adam Phillips, Josh Cohen, Howard Cooper and Laura Marcus

Over the course of three decades, Adam Phillips has been exploring and expanding the boundaries of psychoanalytic writing. He has addressed topics from across the broadest range of human experience - among many others, flirtation, escape, sanity, the unlived life and 'unforbidden pleasures'. Yet it's not simply the intellectual richness of his writing that has inspired readers, but his unmistakeable personal voice - playful, paradoxical and profoundly humane.

Ghostly Hauntings
Subliminal and unconscious messages from our ancestors

Friday 7 December 2018 - London
With Lisa Appignanesi, Prophecy Coles, Dr Françoise Davoine, Professor Stephen Frosh and Linda Grant

This conference aims to elucidate a particular experience within the field of intergenerational trauma, the as if experience of being occupied or possessed by another from a different time or place, and feelings that are hard to explain. When working with these clients, a sense of ghostly possession and metaphysical phenomena can come to mind. We are reminded how within the psyche the past and future can collide in the present.

Pre and Perinatal Emotional Health
Saturday 8 December 2018 - London
With Professor Vivette Glover, Dr Cherionna Menzam-Sills, Dr Giuliana Mieli and Franklyn Sills

This conference brings together speakers from the fields of medicine, psychotherapy and research to consider what we know about the impact of the mother's internal working model of attachment on the emotional development of her baby during pregnancy. We will look at how her states of mind are conveyed to the foetus and are inextricably linked to the attachment style and emotional wellbeing of the new baby to-be-born and the importance of the mother allowing and expressing the full array of feelings she has during her pregnancy including her negative emotions.

Working with High Intensity States of Consciousness:
Ego-disintegration or spiritual breakthrough?

Saturday 15 December 2018 - London
With Dr Angela Cotter, Viv Fogel, Dr Tim Read, Dr Malcolm Rushton and Laurie Slade

This conference will explore links between early trauma and high intensity states of consciousness. For some psychotherapists working with 'non-ordinary states', the 'unknowable' and the 'numinous', including archetypal penetration and crisis of meaning, is integral to their work. To others, such heightened types of consciousness are concerning expressions of ego disintegration. Our speakers will describe a stance where understanding, acceptance and normalisation of the client's experience however strange can be a starting point for integration, growth and healing.

Working with Gender Diversity: Trans, cis, non-binary and beyond
Saturday 19 January 2019 - London
Led by Dr Meg-John Barker

We're in the midst of a massive moral panic about gender. At the same time that shows like BBC's No More Boys and Girls argue for the loosening of rigid gender roles, parental websites like Mumsnet and celebs like Piers Morgan express concerns over the seeming increase in the number of kids identifying as trans or non-binary. We know that gender is highly related to mental health struggles such as high rates of suicide, addiction, and violence among men, and high rates of depression, anxiety, body image, and self-esteem issues among women. But attempts to question rigid binary notions of gender, or to see gender as something that can be more flexible and fluid are often regarded as highly threatening.

Aspergers and Psychoanalysis
Meeting the patient where they are

Saturday 26 January 2019 - London
With Louise Allnutt, Dr Anne Alvarez, Sue Reid and Graham Shulman

At times we are faced with patients who seem disconnected from us and from other people, and from themselves and within themselves. Or are they really so unconnected? Do we address this condition via psychoanalytic psychotherapy by sometimes forcing connections or reading in connections where there are none? Can we find connections or even build connections under these conditions? Working from their experience as psychoanalytic psychotherapists with mildly autistic adolescents, our four speakers will ask if they can stay true to their psychoanalytic roots and still meet the patient where he is, or for that matter, where he is not.

Avoidant Attachment and the Defense Against Intimacy
Saturday 9 February 2019 - London
A one-day seminar Led by Linda Cundy

This day is about the challenge faced by people who were ignored, criticised, rejected or utterly neglected within their families of origin and who thus find it difficult to form close and lasting intimate relationships in adulthood. People who avoid close proximity to others, despite their longing for that closeness, often feel more secure and better able to manage deep feelings when they hold others apart, whether sexual partners, therapists or family members.

The Use of Psychedelics in Psychotherapy
Saturday 2 March 2019 - London
With Professor David Nutt, Dr Jo O'Reilly, Maria Papaspyrou and Dr Rosalind Watts

In recent years there has been a rekindling of interest into the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs. This psychedelic renaissance is producing scientific evidence for efficacy in some psychiatric disorders that are difficult to treat; indeed MDMA assisted psychotherapy for treatment resistant PTSD looks set to become a mainstream treatment. This is obviously a controversial subject and sober appraisal is required. Many psychotherapists will also be aware of reckless use of psychedelics, the vogue for ayahuasca and the dangers of un-integrated experiences. While psychedelic assisted psychotherapy challenges our existing paradigms and opens up areas of psyche that may be unfamiliar, it does appear to offer mutative change and therapeutic promise if used correctly.

Developing embodied awareness in the psychotherapy relationship
A weekend retreat in Dartington

Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 March 2019 - Dartington
With Julianne Appel-Opper, Margaret Landale, Jon Sletvold and Nick Totton

This rural weekend retreat offers the opportunity for practising and trainee psychotherapists to engage with an embodied approach to clinical work. With recent insights from neuroscience, embodied cognitive science and therapeutic experience, it is now generally accepted that the embodied mind is implicitly at work in the relationships between client and therapist.

Post-Slavery Syndrome: Intergenerational PTSD in the Consulting Room Today
Friday 22 March (eve) + Saturday 23 March - London
With Dr Aileen Alleyne, Robert Downes, Eugene Ellis, Wayne Mertins-Brown, Judy Ryde, Foluke Taylor, Lennox Thomas

This conference is about living and practicing psychotherapy in a society that is deeply damaged by the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The discussion is premised on the theory that through the mostly unconscious transmission of intergenerational trauma, affect and narratives, we continue to perpetuate a destructive power disparity between today's black and white communities; that we are locked into histories that we didn't create but which control our thinking and which need to be continually challenged in order for us to grow emotionally as a society.

Healing the Traumatised Self: Overcoming Challenging Moments in Trauma Treatment
Friday 29 and Saturday 30 March 2019 - London
A 2-day study group led by Professor Ruth Lanius

This workshop will discuss treatment challenges frequently encountered in trauma assessment and treatment from a clinical and neurobiological perspective. Practical strategies on how to deal with these difficulties will be outlined throughout the seminar through clinical case examples and role-plays. The importance of the therapeutic alliance and the effect of traumatic re-enactments on the part of both the therapist and the client will be discussed.

Self-Harming Clients in Psychotherapy
Saturday 6 April 2019 - London
With Anna Motz, Jack Nathan and Dr Maggie Turp

This one-day workshop is designed to support psychotherapists in their work with clients or patients who are on the self-harming spectrum, from minor self-injury to suicide. Our panel will elaborate how we can identify self-harming behaviours, the aetiology of self-harm and how to work with those who are actively self-harming during their therapeutic treatment.










Book of the Month
Brett Kahr's Top Ten Psychotherapy Books - 2017
Professor Brett Kahr certainly knows something about the art of authoring books. Over the years he has written or edited ten volumes, and has served as series editor of some fifty further titles. Earlier this year, he published Coffee with Freud (Karnac Books, 2017) and, more recently, New Horizons in Forensic Psychotherapy... More >>
Watch this
Helen Fisher: The brain in love

Why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher and her research team took MRIs of people in love — and people who had just been dumped... view...

Did you know?
The Latest Neuroimaging Findings in Borderline Personality Disorder

Altered function in neurotransmitter systems including the serotonin, glutamate, and GABA systems was observed in patients with BPD... read more...