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Seminars, conferences and online resources on psychotherapy and human relationships

Wild Therapy

Bringing therapy into the wild, and wildness into therapy

A 1-day workshop led by Nick Totton

Saturday 12 May 2018 - London

09.30   Registration and coffee
10.00   The wider context

The re-wilding of therapy is proposed within the context of two poles which operate throughout human history and culture: on the one hand, wildness, on the other hand, domestication. Both are always present, and both are integral to life, but I will argue that contemporary society is strongly skewed towards domestication, and that this urgently needs bringing back into balance for the sake of both our external and our internal worlds. We will look at forager ('hunter-gatherer') cultures and how they inhabit the world, and I will introduce the concept of the Neolithic bargain through which we surrendered wildness for the sake of safety. I will draw on Jerome Bernstein's idea of 'borderland consciousness' to show how human wildness still survives within modern society.
11.15   Coffee
11.45   An ecosystemic path

This session will link wild cultures with the contemporary rediscovery of ecosystemic ways of experiencing and living in the world, focusing especially on their importance for therapy and for the development of ways of relating collaboratively rather than destructively to the other-than-human. This means moving away from a using relationship with the world and with other people - 'what's in it for me?' - towards a relationship based on abundance, connection and reciprocity rather than scarcity, separateness and exploitation.
13.00   Lunch
14.00   Taking therapy outside

We will be looking at one particular model of outdoor work: the one we use in Wild Therapy. We will also looking at general issues and themes which arise through changing the therapeutic frame, and in particular at the relational issues that this raises. Many approaches to outdoor therapy are still based on the question: 'How can we use the natural world?' - meaning in this context 'How we can use it to our psychological benefit?' In Wild Therapy we approach the other-than-human in a humble, relational spirit. Not graspingly, but with empty and open hands.

Depending on weather and circumstances, we will probably go outside during this session.
15.15   Tea
15.45   Coming back in

I suggest that we can do Wild Therapy in the room just as much as outside it. Going outdoors is however very useful in highlighting new possibilities in the work; it is especially helpful in re-training the therapist to work in a more open and spontaneous way, letting go of what many clients experience as our reserved and distant attitude, and shifting to a less individualistic approach to therapy which makes space for the wider networks in which both we and our clients participate. This will move into a general discussion and then into ending.
17.00   End

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Please read our booking conditions before making your booking

Handouts and lunch included
Self-funded: £120
Self-funded x 2: £200
Organisationally-funded: £200
Under 25's: £70

CPD Hours

Certificates of attendance for 6 hours will be provided at the event

The Long Room
Lauderdale House
Waterlow Park
Highgate Road
N6 5HG

09.30 Registration and coffee
10:00 Start
11:15 Coffee
13:00 Lunch
15:15 Tea
17:00 End