Zen & the Art of Therapy COURSE

8 monthly 2-hour meetings online and in person — April-December 2021

click on PDF for details

Care of Self

An Online Event Thursday 22 April 2021 6pm-7.30pm. Click ‘evenbrite’ for full details

Zen and the Art of Therapy Workshop

An exploration of a life-affirming perspective that emphasizes the wonder, beauty and complexity of being human. Intended for both experienced practitioners and beginners in the areas of spirituality, therapy, art and philosophy. Drawing on the radical and poetic tradition of Zen Buddhism and the more innovative and subversive aspects of psychotherapy.

Thursday, 14th of January 2021
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM GMT
Online workshop, register and donate here

Where it Was, Others Shall Be:
Desire, Otherness, and the Alien Inside

Freud’s famous motto ‘Where it was, there I shall be’ arguably set off the entire therapy enterprise on the wrong foot, establishing the primacy of the self over and above the profound influences of concrete others in our life, whether alive or dead. It led us to believe that the unknown can be known, that the enigma of psychic life can be translated, and that what is other can be reduced to the same. Despite their protestations, all therapeutic approaches followed suit, via appeals to ‘evidence-based’ claims, the wild-goose chase for ‘authenticity’, or the fashionable delusions of integration and regulation. We will explore whether a different trajectory is possible, a reorientation from the self to affect and experiencing, a move from self-centering to decentering and from self-boundedness to infinity and otherness.

Thursday, 26th of November, 2020
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM GMT
Online lecture, tickets available here

The Organism, the Unconscious, the Body without Organs

Investigating some transformative aspects of person-centered and humanistic therapy and of psychoanalytic/psychodynamic therapy, our exploration will go beyond the usual confines of the self-concept and the ego-self. The first step is embodiment. The second is building a body-without-organs (BWO), a body liberated from automatic reactions and restored to true freedom. A sensual body that dreams, feels, and thinks outside the constrains of language, social conditioning and the dictates of biology.

20-22 November, 2020
online/in person
more information here

Walk on the Wild Side:
Dreams, the Daimonic, and the Dionysian

We will investigate through theoretical presentations, group work and discussion these three areas that have been arguably neglected in therapy. Dreams, traditionally the province of psychoanalytic/psychodynamic therapy can be explored phenomenologically rather than being interpreted. The Daimonic is any natural function which can invade the person. It is essential to experience. To be overwhelmed by the daimonic opens the door to psychosis; to suppress it leads us to apathy. The Dionysian is closely linked to the Daimonic, with one difference: it cannot be rationalized away or purified through catharsis but requires embracing the tragic joy of existence, the person’s identification with the wider domain of experience. Manu will invite participants to consider these three important and overlooked aspects of therapeutic practice and self-development, first separately, tracing their history and applications then attempting a synthesis, before inviting participants to investigate further through experiential work in small groups and general discussion.

Saturday, 7th November 2020
10:00 – 16:30 GMT
One-day workshop, register here

an experiential/theoretical workshop

What is the body? And do we fully know what a body can do? The term ’embodiment’ has gained traction in spirituality, psychotherapy and the wider world, but what do we mean by the body and embodiment? We will investigate some transformative aspects of psychotherapy theory and practice going beyond the usual confines of the self-construct. Embodiment is only the first step. The second is building a body-without-organs (BWO), a body liberated from automatic reactions and restored to greater freedom. A sensual body that dreams, feels and thinks outside the confines of language, socio-political conditioning and the dictates of biology. A body open to crossing the liminal zones between self and world, the living and the dead, matter and spirit. A body wrenched away from psychiatry, the state and the hierarchical structures of language.

Saturday, 10 October, 2020
The Birchcliffe Centre, Hebden Bridge
more information here

Against Evidence-based Psychotherapy

Has a crisis point been reached in what is currently taken as psychotherapeutic knowledge? There are, for example, an ever increasing number of therapeutic trainings and continuous professional development (CPD) courses that unquestionable assume the mantra of ‘evidence based practice’. Further, it is not only such notions as ‘diagnosis and treatment’, that might be usefully challenged. This conference examines the work of a group of psychotherapists from the Southern Association for Psychotherapy and Counselling (SAFPAC). Their work which is termed ‘critical existential-analytic’ is then critiqued by existentialist Manu Bazzano (University of Cambridge), psychoanalyst Laura Chernaik (SITE for Contemporary Analysis) and phenomenologist Steen Halling (Seattle University) and all participants through discussion time in each presentation, smaller groups and the plenary session.

Saturday, 26 September, 2020
9:30 AM – 5:00 PM BST
Online conference, tickets available here