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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, 17 May 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.

Women on the Couch
Saturday 16 June 2018 - London
With Carmen Joanne Ablack, Luise Eichenbaum, Sissy Lykou, Gina Miller and Susie Orbach

With multiple allegations of abuse by powerful men of less powerful women, we (both men and women) are in an extraordinary moment of taking stock of our relative positions to each other. The revelations of transgressions in the entertainment industry - from intrusive touching to actual rape - by intelligent and privileged men are an extraordinary testimony of inequality at the deepest and most primitive level: our relationship to the body and its ownership.

Toxic Couples in Therapy
Attachment and unconscious processes in relationship conflict and abuse

Saturday 23 June 2018 - London
With Damian McCann, Andy Metcalf, Anna Motz and Kate Thompson

One of the most complex ironies of the human condition is that our need for intimacy - so essential for survival from the moment of birth - often results in relationships that persistently thwart our deepest emotional and embodied prerequisites for contentment in adulthood: tenderness, empathic atunement and sexual fulfilment. At the beginning of a new relationship these desires may appear attainable and yet, as we see so often in therapy, unconscious processes can disrupt the most loving intentions, bringing the weight of negative, deeply held expectations about the self and the other into the core experience of the couple relationship, leading to great pain and disappointment.

Women on the Couch
Saturday 30 June 2018 - Dublin
With Ellen O'Malley Dunlop, Dr Maria Leahy, Marlene French Mullen, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and Louise O'Neill

Mary Robinson, the first female president (Uachtarain) of Ireland acknowledged that the women of Ireland, Mná na haÉireann had, at the time, rocked the system. Do Irish women feel that this remains a truism? 2018 has been marked by events such as the Belfast rape trial, the campaign to repeal the 8th amendment and the cervical screening debacle.

Emotion-Focused Therapy
The transforming power of affect

Saturday 14 July 2018 - London
A 1-day seminar with Professor Leslie Greenberg

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy approach developed by Professor Leslie Greenberg and colleagues that views emotions as centrally important in human functioning and in therapeutic change. It is an integrative, neo-humanistic treatment based on a program of psychotherapy research that began in the 1970s. It integrates Person-Centred, Gestalt and Existential Therapy traditions with a psychodynamically informed approach, all within an emotion theory and neuroscience perspective that views emotion as a source of meaning, direction and growth. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety, complex trauma, eating disorders and couple distress, as well as interpersonal problems and problems in living.

Existential Uncertainty
A 1-day workshop facilitated by Professor Ernesto Spinelli

Saturday 28 July 2018 - Dublin
With Professor Ernesto Spinelli

Current issues such as political and economic instability, climate change, and Brexit have provoked ever-increasing levels of anxiety and confusion. In turn, these concerns serve to highlight the degree to which uncertainly permeates our lives. Among contemporary psychotherapeutic models, existential psychotherapy emphasizes the inevitability of uncertainty. Its foundational stance of relatedness makes it evident that no individual "I" can ever fully determine, with complete and final certainty, what and how the world will be; how another or others will be; or even how "I" will be at any point time.

Psychotherapy and the Natural World
Friday 31 August - Sunday 2 September 2018 - Dublin
With Dr Sharon Blackie, Robbie Breadon, Jill Carey, Patricia Fitzgerald, Joanne Hanrahan, Andy Hardie, Matthew Henson, Katarina Horrox, Therese O'Driscoll, Hayley Marshall and Mary-Jayne Rust

So much psychotherapy takes place within the confines of a consulting room. But what happens when therapy takes place in a natural setting - or when the natural world is invited into the narrative of self and other? This conference brings together the practices of ecology and psychotherapy to illustrate how engagement with nature is a powerful transformative tool, both in itself and - potentially - when integrated into any therapeutic approach.

Negotiating Endings in the Psychotherapy Relationship
Saturday 6 October 2018 - London
With Professor Jeremy Holmes, Dr John Andrew Miller, Anne Power and Dr Jill Salberg

Endings in therapy can range vastly from abrupt and unexpected ruptures to working towards a fulfilled ending, and anything in between. Of course, endings and loss are inextricably linked, even in the best circumstances. An ending will stir up early experiences of loss that may not have been consciously experienced before let alone worked through in the therapy.

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, including guests Josh Cohen and Howard Cooper

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

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 states of mind on the emotional development of her baby during pregnancy. We will look at how these states of mind are conveyed from the mother to the foetus and are inextricably linked to the attachment style and emotional wellbeing of the new baby to-be-born. Beginning with an overview of the neurobiological systems that occur between the mother and her foetus during gestation, we will learn how certain physiological systems coming from the mother's body-mind, influence the baby's potential emotional-self via a complex blend of hormones and epigenetic changes.

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.










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...