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Past workshops

When Eros meets Psyche

posted 2 Sep 2012, 12:02 by Debbie Cotton

19 April 2013 at 15:00 until 21 April 2013 at 16:00 in UTC+02

Zentrum für somatisch orientierte Psychotherapie, Hamburg, Germany 

Exploring sexuality in relational body-psychotherapy, an experiential workshop, blending theory, clinical work and personal engagement. more 

details TBA

Hosted by Dr. Cäsar H.-J. Schwieger and Theresia Mestmäcker from Zentrum für somatisch orientierte Psychotherapie, Hamburg, Germany. for

more details please contact Theresia: 

The magic of relational touch in psychotherapy and coaching

posted 2 Sep 2012, 12:00 by Debbie Cotton

22 March 2013 at 09:30 until 24 March 2013 at 17:00

Brussels, Belgium

Full details TBA, following the last two workshops in Brussels, we will dedicate three days to finding non-technical ways of incorporating safe and 

ethical touch into our therapetuic or coaching work.

Hosted by Kristin Verellen.

for more details contact Kristin -

Embodied spirituality

posted 7 Jul 2012, 13:25 by Debbie Cotton   [ updated 12 Jul 2012, 11:19 ]

3 days training in IMT with Asaf Rolef-Ben Shahar

Can we think deeply, connect meaningfully and be grounded in reality and still open to spirit?

New-age religion has contributed to a wider spiritual variety, which is not necessarily bound to religious practice or prescribed dogma. At the same time, to a great extent, it created a spiritual-pop-culture, magnifying the chasm between rigorous psychotherapeutic work and spiritual positioning. Indeed, many methods of psychotherapy have tried to deal with this – including psycho-synthesis, Jungian analysis, Core-energetics and more.

In these three days we will together get lost in the search of the place of spirituality within the therapeutic dyad. We shall explore that with the purpose of finding spiritual connection that is both embodied and deepens the therapeutic, relational, and human connection. We would seek to search for the spiritual dimension in all I-thou connections.

During the workshop we shall look for ways of using those meaningful connections to a larger body for expanding connection with ourselves and the other, and for enabling therapeutic and healing processes.

This is not a workshop of knowledge. While relating to philosophers and spiritual methodologies, we shall not find answers but instead wonder together, in a facilitative way, and seek connection for that which is within us that is, at the same time, larger than us. By the end of this workshop we would hopefully have some clearer, more daring questions.

Dates- 16th- 18th November 2012

The Vestry Hall, Richmond. 

Cost- £330 for 3 days CPD

For Bookings, please contact Debbie on A non-refundable deposit of £70 will be required to book your place. 

Payment can either be made by

1. Direct debit payment plan- a £70 deposit of the total is required to secure your place, with the balance due by the beginning of the workshop, payments can be split into weekly, fortnightly or monthly as long as the full balance is received by the start of the course. 

2. Cheque or cash- £70 deposit to secure your place and the balance payable on the day


Resonance –The Gift of Connection

posted 19 May 2012, 04:21 by Debbie Cotton

30 June - 1 July 2012
Asaf Rolef Ben-Shahar UKCP (reg) EABP (acc)
at Hasseluddens Yasuragi -A Japanese Spa 

Set in a tranquil and peaceful environment for the mind, body and spirit, this workshop will offer you the opportunity to learn more about how you
can use your somatic mind to deepen your relationships.

The workshop will be held in English.

Total price is: 570 € (VAT included)

Workshop fee
2 days accommodation at Hasseluddens Yasuragi in a double room

2 lunches, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast, coffee, and Spa (including swimsuit, bathrobe and slippers)

Some single rooms are available on request for an additional charge

We are currently inviting bookings for this workshop. For registration and payment, contact

This workshop is sponsored by VÅR KÄLLA through Lotta Berger

lotta.berger@mabracoach,se, +46 (0) 70-7363979

Embracing Darkness

posted 13 Oct 2011, 11:47 by Debbie Cotton

Relational work with shadows and boundaries
With Dr. Asaf Rolef Ben Shahar
March 17th-18th 2012- Belgium

We arrive to connection with the best of intentions; we want to help,to facilitate change. We offer our presence, our guidance, our support, our expertise.
And sometimes it works like magic. But sometimes it doesn't. The helping professions may bring the best out of ourselves and the other, but it sometimes does the

The shadow side of change-­work can easily be attributed to our clients (he is resistant, she is not ready for change), but it is also a call for us to stop, look inside, and
grow. When shadows are owned, a connection with our deepest potential is enabled. The shadow aspects of our being hold not only the fearful, the shameful and the
hurting – but also the potential for connection with wider selves, with others, and with the spiritual dimension. In acknowledging our shadows, we assume human form
and so allow more of ourselves and the other to be embraced....

Please find attached the full flyer and workshop booking form with all details.

Embodied Psychopathology

posted 23 Aug 2011, 03:32 by Debbie Cotton

A theoretical, clinical and experiential course

Part one- 6-9th May 2012
Part two- 12-15h October 2012

with Dr. Asaf Rolef Ben-Shahar, PhD.

Every form of psychopathology represents a specific type of limitation of the individual’s capacity to be fully alive as a human being.
Thomas Ogden

Body-psychotherapy offers a unique look at developmental arrests that obstruct the organism’s aliveness and create chronic pain and suffering.However, there is frequently a gap between the psychiatric (DSM-IV, ICD-10)
and psychological jargon and that of body-psychotherapy, which may pose difficulties for both sides in dialoguing between them.

This short course was created to help bodyworkers and body-psychotherapists gain a greater understanding of psychopathology without having to adopt a completely different language or clinical principles. The
course would also be useful for therapists from other modalities wishing to familiarise themselves with body-psychotherapeutic understanding of extreme character rigidities.

The course will include theoretical engagement (including some reading material before and between units) and an assignment, clinical work (in pairs and small groups) and experiential explorations.

During the course, we will

  • Connect character structure to extreme character rigidities (i.e.psychopathology) –to better understand mental illness in terminology that bridges ICD-10/DSM-IV and body-psychotherapy training.
  • Look at the usefulness and limitation of labels.
  • Learn to identify specific and different conditions.
  • Better recognise our practice scope.
  • Acquire terminology for conversing with other mental-health professionals around psychopathology
  • Recognise the gifts in the rigidity - between pathology and generative aspects
  • Explore ways of working with these in body-psychotherapy setting.
  • Focus on self-care when working with extreme presentations.
  • Explore transference dynamics when working with extreme conditions.
  • Generalise psychopathological knowledge into our regular practice.

Over these eight days, we will mainly look at what practitioners are likely to meet in their clinic:

  • Mood Disorders: depression, anxiety, phobias, OCD.
  • Schizoid pathologies - Schizophrenia, Dissociative disorders.
  • Oral pathologies - Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders

Who is it for?

  • Deep Bodywork students and practitioners – the course was specifically tailored to accompany and complement Silke Ziehl’s training.
  • Body-psychotherapy trainees – wanting to expand clinical and theoretical knowledge or wishing to qualify for EABP and UKCP accreditation.
  • Body-psychotherapists and bodyworkers
  • Psychotherapists from other modalities wishing to be acquainted with body-psychotherapy.

The Open Centre, 188 Old Strett, ECV1

Money and professional identity

posted 20 Aug 2011, 09:47 by Debbie Cotton

A 2 day workshop for participants of the ongoing IMT training program

Being a therapist requires us to combine spirit and matter – it is both a vocation and a business. Unlike many other professions, the product that we are "selling" is not really the method, the discipline, the tools or even the orientation: it is the person that we are: I am selling myself, my time. I am in fact asking people to pay money to spend time with me, "it's worth your while to be with me," I say – "you'll grow, and change and develop from our relationship." Therefore, to appropriately position ourselves as self-employed, it is not enough to market and advertise ourselves. We need to form a deep professional identity that is congruent and truthful to ourselves and can be proactively expressed in the real worked.

You've invested a lot of money and time, and more so energy and hope in professional training. The beginning looked promising – you had a few clients. But it has not fully developed, or not as much as you were hoping for. So many graduate therapists and practitioners are unable to solely make a living from their trained profession. Perhaps you are not good enough? Perhaps you need to learn some more, or maybe it is indeed impossible to both engage in a job that you really like and make good money? Perhaps you cannot satisfy both the soul and the pocket?

During these two days, together we will look at our beliefs, values and relationship with money, in our own biographies and as it manifests in the therapeutic relationship. Aside from examining the place of money in the therapeutic relationship, we will further seek ways of mobilizing the our attitudes towards money and making a living, hopefully opening possibilities for greater financial freedom.

Dates: 11th and 12th December
Time: 10am- 6pm
Location: The Open Centre, 188-192 Old Street, London EC1V 9FR

This workshop is a part of a series in the ongoing training group. If you are already a member of this group, please email Debbie to reserve your place. If you are not a member of the ongoing group and would like to be, please email Debbie to enquire about how to join. 

Surrender to Flow: Exploring trance and body

posted 8 Mar 2011, 00:07 by Debbie Cotton

With Dr. Asaf Rolef Ben-Shahar, PhD 
Hamburg, June 17th-19th 2011

Like touch, the therapeutic use of hypnosis in psychotherapy was brought to the acceptable medical and therapeutic arena by Freud. Like touch, trancework was later abandoned by Freud and consequently marginalized and ostracized from mainstream psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic practice.  

It is not a coincidence that both body-psychotherapy and hypno-psychotherapy suffered from this split so similarly: both involve highly influential, closer to the unconscious, tools, which challenge the psychotherapist to be ever more present to the relationship, and to their own counter-transference, if they wish to work relationally.   

Together we will discover how trance can be a relational process of opening to a shared field of resonance – a process that readily occurs in affective-psychotherapies, particularly those involving body and touch. Learning to recognize hypnotic fields, to join our clients there and work with these processes can be transformative in the psychotherapeutic practice, and a natural complementary set of tools for the body-psychotherapist.  During these two-and-a-half days we will learn how to recognize naturally occurring trances, and how to integrate these within our psychotherapeutic practice in an integrative, ethical and non-technical manner. This would be a highly experiential workshop, with ample opportunities to learn by doing. We will look at:

• Learning to open into, develop and work with ‘relational trances’ 
• Integrate hypnotic work with body-psychotherapy around regressive states 
• Recognize and utilize spontaneous trance  

 Friday 17th June 2011 
15:00 - 18:00 (Dinner) 19.00 - 21.00 
 Saturday 18th
 09:00 - 12:00  (Lunch)  14.00 - 16.00  (Coffee) 16.30 – 18.30 
 Friday 19th
 09:00-12:00  (Lunch)  14.00 - 16.00 (Coffee) 
Where:  House / office of the bodypsychotherapists (EABP) 
  Theresia Mestmäcker and Dr. Cäsar Schwieger 
  Inselstraße 8 (At the river Alster) 
  22297 Hamburg 
  Tel. 0049-40-4601182 

How much: € 460,00 (all meals incl.) 

For details about the content of the workshop please email Asaf –  
For other questions please contact Theresia - 
Asaf Rolef Ben-Shahar, PhD is a relational psychotherapist, writer and teacher. Asaf integrates body-psychotherapy and trancework in 
his work and teaches in clinical and academic settings in Israel and Europe   

Between omnipotence and helplessness: relational opportunities with narcissism

posted 3 Feb 2011, 09:49 by Debbie Cotton

Narcissism has forever been one of the most important concepts and the least consensual one in psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic thinking. A baby is found in a very tricky place -  a baby has immense power and impact - when a baby smiles everybody's happy, a baby's cry distresses every person around. At the same time, a baby is also helpless - it cannot regulate the very basic aspects of its life (like temperature, hunger, physical comfort, not to even mention emotions). This gap between our perceived omnipotence and our perceived helplessness is a highly tense state - and one that reappears in life.
To overcome our helplessness we often choose to understand processes as if they were under our control - and our responsibility.
when mum and dad got divorced - it was because I was a bad boy, my partner is so anxious because I fail to make him secure, and my clients are not getting better because I am not a very good therapist. To escape the painful tolerance of what is out of our control (our helplessness) the child - and adult - will oftentimes choose to assume that they are the cause of an action. I would rather think it is my fault that mum and dad got divorced than to realise the world is so unpredictable...  seeing the world through our eyes as means of protection from unknown, from chaos and from hurting others and ourselves is narcissism.
People who choose to be therapists care about others and are frequently found deep within the narcissistic spectrum (we feel it is our responsibility to make the world a better place). How do we learn to embrace this position without being driven and dictated by it? How do can we recognise our limitations and accept them, thus letting go of harmful assumption of responsibility? What would it take for us (and our client) to manage and tolerate more of the unknown, the uncertain, the random?
I believe that tending to our narcissistic wound is about reclaiming partial control over our lives, and surrendering control elsewhere, and it allows a less tense position when dealing with ourselves and others. Moreover, it strengthens our capacity to see others as subjects - not just as satellites of our own reality - and at the same time, it allows us to assume a fuller position as human beings.
So, in those two days we will explore our need to take things on when they are not ours to take (we neither save nor doom others), understand the origins of such tendencies, and learn when we need to attend to ourselves more kindly so that we may loosen a narcissistic bond on reality and relate more openly and freely. I know it would be exciting and challenging.


Dates- April 7th and 8th 2011
Cost- TBA
pre-requisites- to attend this course you must have trained with Asaf at least three times previously. 
Location- The Open Centre, Old St London



Can I keep my symptoms please? Working with secondary gains

posted 3 Feb 2011, 09:45 by Debbie Cotton   [ updated 26 Oct 2011, 14:42 ]

Open group training

Many years ago I met a woman with a debilitating phobia – she couldn’t drive. Driving gave her panic attacks. Through very brief intervention this woman was free of her phobia only to be confronted with flood of pain: for twenty years, she was married to a man she didn’t love. Somehow, her phobia served a purpose all those years – it protected her from dealing with something that was too painful.

Another man suffered from migraines every time his in-laws visited. So painful were his migraines that he just had to excuse himself into the bedroom and lay in silence…

Symptoms do that – they may make our lives uncomfortable, but they serve a purpose. And they care for us deeply. To support a truly integrated change, their purpose should be investigated, respected and sponsored.

During the workshop we will celebrate the symptoms and speak to them. Brining both systemic and relational approaches, we would talk with symptoms, befriend them and liaise with them so that we become cooperative partners rather than enemies trying to eradicate each other.

The workshop will be useful for psychotherapists, but also for people who work with physical symptoms, such as medical doctors, physiotherapists and complementary health practitioners. While using psychotherapeutic framework (relational), the dialogue that can develop with the symptoms could be used within other modalities too.

For questions, or more details you are welcome to email me at

Dates: 9th and 10th of December 2011
Location: The Open Centre, 188 Old St London EC1V 9FR
Cost: £210 for the whole workshop

This is an open group, so anyone who has interest in psychotherapuetic training is welcome. Please contact to book a place. 

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