Some feedback on workshops
Advanced PC Practice Development March 2018
Thank you so much for a wonderful workshop. I have been thinking about it all week; the concepts, skills practice, wonderful group and facilitators. I loved how you worked together and created such a relaxed environment, so people could be congruent, notice when they weren’t and speak freely. Seeing Frances’s demonstration, skills practice and peer group feedback has really effected my work in a positive way – I have been able to feel calmer, more patient, ask less questions and be more tentative checking my understanding. This has led to noticeable positive developments with my clients. When Jane shared her experience of feelings about snow on Sunday, it felt freeing for me. When Jane reflected back her sense of what she felt I was feeling about Saturday, it was so helpful in changing my view of my self, as was the exploration of theory. Thank you again, it was challenging and so enlivening.
I’m very happy to give feedback on what was a very valuable weekend of theory, process and practice. It’s left me with a precious sense of the value of what we do and the courage to continue to believe its assumptions and practices – and, if need be, defend it! Obviously for me there was something very poignant. powerful and connecting about having this experience with you: it felt like a live connection with the wonderful experience I had on the diploma. But it was also great to get to know Jane and have a sense of how you two work together – open about your differences of style, but also clearly in a productive and respectful relationship. That set a model of all sorts of other interactions. Her contributions and comments were just as insightful as yours. I particularly valued the return again and again to theory during the weekend and to the need for us all to account for what we do. One thing that did surprise me was how ‘under-theorised’ some of the other participants seemed to be – sometimes seeming unclear about basic principles or content to leave them a bit vague and unclear (‘magic’, ‘people are good’ etc.). This is not so much feedback for you but a somewhat worrying comment on our community. I guess I imagined that the level of theoretical engagement might have been higher and more sophisticated given the title of the weekend. But, again, maybe that says something about the quality of the education I had at PCCS 12 years ago.
For me personally, I came away from the workshop having felt confident and validated that my way of working is essentially person centred although I also integrate other approaches based on my belief system. I found the theory given in bite size chunks and stimulating which led to some in-depth discussions. I enjoyed how we were all part of a group and the feeling of safety was very present. Bringing in your own experiences and sharing vulnerability confirmed we all have our struggles and strengths all trying to actualize and made the weekend feel equal. The sharing of food makes it nurturing. I liked the opportunity to role play and get feedback. Over all, I took away a renewed sense of energy, passion and groundedness.
I found the workshop useful although unfortunately as you know I was only able to attend the first day as it transpired. I felt for me it really reinforced forced some of the fundamentals of the person centred approach such as striving to remain in the clients frame of reference. It also prompted me to reflect on the importance of patience and being tentative in interventions with clients. The opportunity to observe and participate in observed counselling sessions is so valuable but so rare for me since qualifying. I wish I had been able to make the second day!
Intimacy May 2016
I really enjoyed the workshop on Intimacy. My experience was one of great shifts in energy and emotion, from moments of blissful-like acceptance and joy, to depths of grief and sadness. For me, the subject matter and the facilitative conditions made for a moving workshop which encouraged a level of intimate connectedness to develop and flow between the group members.
Storytelling February 2016
The Storytelling Workshop which took place on Saturday 27th February 2016 was a great experience for me. First of all you and Karen made me very welcome. I found the workshop well paced, informative and it gave a powerful insight into dramatherapy.
I discovered some interesting things about my thoughts and feeling patterns. It also amazed me how comfortable I was with role plays.
I will continue with great pleasure to look back and reflect on the experience of the day.
Introduction to Focussing – Level 1 John Threadgold
I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about the weekend. It was lovely to be back in a person-centred group, and it was a very safe group, with everyone in it a pleasure to be with and share with. I really appreciated you opening up your home to us all as it made a very relaxing environment. I loved your veggie soup and that delicious bread and the shared lunch on the Sunday was fab too.
I thought John’s introduction to Focusing Oriented Therapy was excellent. I think the combination of theory and experiential was perfect and I gained so much personally from the exercises we did. Experiencing something so powerful and effective has really inspired me and has already had a impact on my counselling, though I am taking baby steps with regard to working more experientially. I feel it has given my counselling a new lease of life and this is something I want to pursue and develop further. So on that note, I really hope there are enough people interested for you to be able to invite John again for the next instalment. It would be great to be able to do all five courses he has developed!
Thank you for a wonderful, enlightening weekend in which I feel I learnt
more of myself and how to further assist my clients with their process.
Both you and your lovely home were very welcoming and the group offered a
safe space for everyone.
I look forward to further training and our focusing groups.
I want to thank you Frances for hosting the weekend, and feeding us with the gorgeous homemade soup, bread and cheese.
I want to thank John for facilitating the FOT workshop. I felt enriched by the experience. I believe learning more about FOT, and experiencing focusing will deepen myself awareness, and develop my skills.
Thanks Ian for sending out mail enquiring. It has given me the courage to ask anyone interested in meeting for practicing guided focusing.
I feel very lucky and privileged to have been on this course, the most useful and meaningful CPD since my counselling diploma in 2009. Although I learned so much from John’s knowledge, skills and experience in FOT, I benefited most from his personal qualities. John is a living demonstration of person-centred values through his warmth and willingness to be seen ‘warts and all’. He has the courage and honesty to share his personal moments of vulnerability: moments in which he might be experiencing, as we all do from time to time, confusion, not knowing or embarrassment. But with John there was no hiding or pretending it was not happening. This made the course democratic and a safe space in which to share our vulnerable selves and thereby gain the most from the experiential element of the course.
Thankyou for welcoming us into your lovely home, I think the atmosphere enhanced the whole process & it made a refreshing change for me to attend some PD training in an informal setting, sharing food & having some great outside space to look at as well.
John – thankyou for the opportunity to explore Focusing in a practical way with a group of people who seemed willing to trust each other and the process. Focusing is something I’ve been interested in since starting my counselling diploma, but I struggled to relate what I was reading in books to client work, so the opportunity to practice with different people was invaluable and I’m grateful that others in the group were prepared to be really open and engage in the demonstrations, which again really helped me see process in action.
Perhaps the key thing I’ve taken awayis not to get in the way of the process ….trust the client and myself
Feedback – Power workshop October 2014
I found this workshop very interesting and extremely powerful. The differing definitions of what power actually is to all of us individually created a real deep levelled debate. I found I learned a lot from this debate and although I had a preconceived definition of what power meant to me I also embraced other people’s opinions and definitions.
It’s brought home to me personally just how prevalent Power is in my own personal relationship and at work as a union representative and as a counsellor in the relationship with clients. The other members of the group fully embraced this workshop also which made it a great day. It also brought home to me personally the miss-use of power and the effects that can have on myself and others around me.
The group dynamics was well balanced and I think we all learned from each other just exactly what level of power we have or levels of we may not have in some cases.
Overall I feel the workshop was educational and a must for any future attendees, I fully endorse this course and recommend this eventful and powerful experience. James
Feedback – Unconditional Positive Regard
PCCS Workshop – November 2013
I thought it was fantastic and I chose it as I wanted to use it as my CPD element for my accreditation.
In my write up I have written below but added bits for you:
I chose an experiential workshop as in my experience, sharing personal and professional experiences and knowledge enriches the subject matter and learning. In addition, I hoped to receive UPR in the learning process of the workshop and knew this to be of ultimate value, emphasising the power of experience in contrast to theory. This experience I felt would be another opportunity to experience UPR and highlight to me the therapeutic value of UPR to the client. I was not disappointed!
Frances is a wonderful facilitator and shares her knowledge and experience generously. I hope I will be able to attend another one of her courses.
The workshop took place at the home of Frances. The room was comfortable and relaxed which created an environment that felt safe.
There were eleven people present (all female). Apart from a short introduction by Francis, no formal introductions took place. This allowed for a neutral power balance which added to the feeling of safety and equality.
No structured activities took place. Frances facilitated the dialogue that took place between attendees. This ranged from our experience with client work, personal reflection and insights with some theoretical reflections. I particularly enjoyed this organic way of working. It was exciting to trust the process in the room and allowed for flexibility in what was discussed.
Finding my voice within the group was the most challenging but once this hurdle was overcome I felt confident to respond and share. I attribute this to feeling accepted by the members in the group and their willingness to understand. I experienced the core conditions from the facilitator and felt fully supported and held.
It was an excellent opportunity to be reminded of this very important core condition, the challenges in offering UPR to clients and the importance of using supervision for blind spots that may be present. The case studies offered by members of the group regarding client work and personal experience in their work added to the learning. I look forward to attending workshops in the future.D
I wanted to share with you how much I enjoyed this course.
As always the environment you provide feels safe and caring.
It is a space where I gain greater understanding of myself and others.
To share a day with like minded counsellors is a joy and to feel the reality of Unconditional Positive Regard.
I hope I can offer my clients the acceptance and experience I was offered in that room.
I recommend counsellors to attend your courses regardless of their counselling philosophy and theories.
Thank you for your invitation to give feedback. I enjoyed the warmth of the group. I struggled with the format of the day as I have never been to a workshop with no agenda, structure or teaching input. For me, it felt more like a PD group than a workshop. Perhaps this was something beyond my experience so far. I would also have liked members of the group to introduce themselves at the beginning so I had some names and a bit of a feel for who was in the group. It might have made sharing easier rather than having to go in cold. I was also rather thrown by the idea that UPR is something the counsellor offers within the therapeutic relationship and not necessarily a way of being to aspire to, as I try to live the rest of my life offering the core conditions to myself and everyone I meet (not always successfully I might add!.
I experienced a deeply moving day. Personal insights seemed to abound, which allowed me to deeply relate with theoretical concepts. I somewhat wish I had scribbled some things down, because I sense they were deeply valuable to me. That said, I have increasingly come to trust myself to take in and assimilate what I will, not to distract myself with attempted note-taking, and not to rely on paper notes (which usually don’t get referred to anyway!).
I’d love to hear others reflections on the day, and any summaries of discussion which might remind me of it all. Again though, I deeply valued the whole experience as it was.
One particular memory for me was of talking about Frankel and Sommerbeck’s chapter in Freedom to Practice volume II, and possible meanings/differentiation of the terms CCT, PCT and PCA. This has been an important point for me over the last few years, and the open discussion in the room meant a lot to me.
Another memory, which jumps to the fore now, was of expressions of how restorative sharing such a day can be. I deeply value what I feel to be such experiences of a supportive community.
Now another memory comes. I was maybe flagging after lunch, but I remember expressing how distant I was feeling regarding a discussion around pensions and job security. This took me deeply into recognising how I was holding some self-blame or shame about having gone along with such concepts in my youthful adulthood. The general sense for me was of the value of being in this moment, not being unduly distracted by past or future. M.
I just want to say how much I enjoyed the day. I found just spending the day around other people who I have never met before an enlightening and very real experience.and a great starting point for being congruent and authentic with clients and all human beings! Recognising people’s differences along the way!
I felt very comfortable around can other people with a similar need to help and understand clients in a person centred way, but also recognising that we are all human and feel things in very different ways, helping us to understand what exactly it is that stops us as individual human beings being congruent with others
The soup was yummy too by the way!! And your hospitality was warm and welcoming and very kind. P.
My experience of the day was a really positive one and I think there are a number of reasons for this which I will try to cover. Firstly the environment is a comfortable one and I felt welcomed into it. The space felt good to me with an offered freedom to move around in it, use the expressive stuff, take a break & get a drink when needed.
The members in the group were all coming from within a person centred perspective and I experienced this in the way that others responded to both myself & each other. I felt valued I guess which for me has been a while since I have been in that environment with like-minded people. I enjoyed the fact that the group got to wherever it was going without a huge amount of structure except for a title for the day and some suggested reading.
I also really enjoyed lunch, It was warming and nourishing….. a bit like the group really! 🙂
Since the workshop & coming back to work I have had two really good sessions with one new client and another client I have seen a few times. During both these sessions I felt much more grounded in the approach and trusted myself to trust my clients (and their process) In terms of professional development I recognise the need for me to be in this community more often.
I have also been to my clinical meeting today and shared my experience which has encouraged others to think about the different types of professional development they attend and what they get from it. R.
The workshop gave me greater insight into what we mean by UPR both in theory and practise which as a student was invaluable. There were eight of us working together including Frances and I felt that we quickly gelled and were open and keen to share our thoughts. During the course of the day I felt there were some quite challenging debates which made me question and analyse my understanding of person centred therapy but as on all previous PCC workshops the open and facilitative nature of the workshop allowed people to safely explore different ideas around the subject.
I really enjoy the freedom that a piece of non-directional group work seems to create. There is no set agenda and the discussion sometimes strays from the central topic but the end result is always an interesting, thought provoking day with a sense of shared counselling camaraderie! Holly.
I enjoyed the day immensely and found it profitable. I value being with people of a like mind, who treat each other with gentleness and respect, but are not afraid to disagree or confront when appropriate.
It was good both to explore UPR as a concept, and to experience it in the group.
There is a range of enrichments that the day has brought to me, but a week on, I have just three in mind:
– The notion of a ‘hard shell’ that I shared with the group, using the dinosaur figure. The group developed that and returned to it through the day, adding the idea of a ‘soft underbelly’ to protect. I am aware that this is part of my on-going journey towards congruence.
– The notion of UPR as a philosophy or principle and the recognition that we are by nature conditional, so our emotions will not always match what we aspire to (and I want to say, that’s human and therefore OK!).
– The “quotable quote”: ‘ When the counsellor’s ready the clients will come’
Thanks for hosting and running the day; and for your willingness to be vulnerable and to stick with your person-centredness as we worked. Andy.
I enjoyed the workshop and it was good to be immersed in a Person-Centred environment after such a long time. I thought you facilitated the group really well and I appreciated your open and honest approach. Your home is very welcoming and comfortable and is a perfect venue for the size of group. Lovely soup too. And Bread! It sometimes takes me quite a long time to process things and I’m still reflecting on the experience and probably will be for a long time. Workshops are shaped by the participants and I thought we were lucky in having a good mix of personalities who all gave generously. I realise my opinions may, at times, differ significantly from those of others and I only hope my delivery wasn’t too clumsy or startling. The gig, 320 mile drive and 4am return the night before probably wasn’t the best preparation but I was glad to have made the effort. It was a rewarding day. Danny.
I guess personally I did not get as much from it as the Intimacy one although I always enjoy the discussions. I had thought a lot about it before hand having also read the PCCS book on it. Maybe I wasn’t offering enough UPR but somehow I wanted a little more substantial discussion. I would have enjoyed more input from you although I understand your stance as a facilitator, it’s a tricky balance. I guess I enjoy getting my teeth into a subject. Sometimes the personal stories/ anecdotes get in the way for me. I guess I sound arrogant when saying that but don’t mean to be. I need to practice more UPR!! Andrew
Different feelings during the day came up for me. At times, I felt a little confused wondering what unconditional positive regard was, which I have reflected on. I thought I learnt from being taught. I guess what I am learning for me, it is in the experiential way (although uncomfortable at times) is where the learning is. K.
I was inspired to write this Poem after I attended a Workshop on ‘UPR’ that Frances facilitated.
One of the Women who attended talked about her ‘Soft under belly’ meaning: ‘when you become aware of a movement or shift in your body in a response to what someone might be talking about’. I loved how she described that movement, so I have stolen it to explain the experience I had.
Group Facilitation 2012
I found the course very interesting and I feel that I got a lot from that. It gave me a new way of understanding what learning is and a confidence to work with groups . Even though I was used to a more structure ‘teaching-student kind of trainings’ and at the beginning I found it a bit difficult to be get engaged with what we were doing, I found this experiential workshop a great opportunity to realise that the best learning is not coming from keeping notes and be taught by the ‘expert’ but when you experience and deeply realise the process of a group and working with group. A unique experience. Thank you. Sophia
If you want to offer yourself the opportunity to experience the core conditions and develop, then this is the place to be. Experiential learning can be a difficult place to be. Difficult, because I could sit back and expect to be told the topic of the workshop, but here I am part of the topic. It’s engrossing. It’s a place where you can be passive and you can be active either way you will be heard. The difficult is made easy, because it is handled in a caring way. Simon
The course for me was a testament to experiential learning. I felt both challenged and at ease. Loved the set up at home eg helping yourself and taking breaks whenever we needed. Both in terms of upr and power relations this felt lovely.
I also really appreciated you making the course accessible to all in terms if cost. This is rare in my experience. The opportunity for live practice was particularly beneficial to me; perhaps if this was mentioned on the website it would be helpful. I appreciated your attention to my feedback in this. However, on hindsight I would have like some ‘room for improvement’ feedback. Perhaps I could have asked more specifically what I wanted beforehand. I am comparing to my counselling training where feedback was more structured and more of a focus, which was helpful. Rakhi
Comparative Study Day
I found the experience of watching two sessions with different approaches helpful and provocative (in the stimulating discussion sense of course!). Although I would have liked more structure in the afternoon and maybe an exercise to do or see (after we had exhausted feedback on the sessions) rather than the group just chatting and drinking coffee. But overall I thoroughly enjoyed the day and lunch was delicious!
Really enjoyed the day. I found Gestalt interesting just a shame we couldn’t have explored it more. It was also good to hear other peoples views in terms of developing as a trainee .On reflection of the day I always find there is always something that you pick up from being with like minded. I will be back for more workshops. Thanks for having me.
Feedback: The therapy session was very useful personally to me and has genuinely shifted my fears and feelings. Thank you for that. The comparisons aspects of the day was interesting. I do respect, other models, but I realise I am so ‘sold’ on the Person Centred Model I do not engage well with others. I felt the students were far more excited and open minded about the different model and it was this that made me realise how biased I am, but also happy with my choice and so are my clients. If I ever find anything better I will let you know, but don’t hold your breath!!!!
My first thought was that it was just a joy to be back in a counselling community when I haven’t been doing any for about five weeks. It gave me added resolve to sort myself out after this flurry of work ends at the end of April. It also reminded me how much I am missing talking about counselling with people from different disciplines and traditions.
I thought both practical sessions went well and (for the most part) the discussions after the sessions were genuine and often illuminating. One problem I thought there was a tendency to focus on the issues raised rather than the dynamic of the session and the theoretical underpinnings of the approaches. Those sessions should not have been feedback sessions but discussions about the theory and practice – sometimes it seemed to stray from that. Having said that, most of what was said was insightful and I got loads from it.
The PCC session was really rewarding in that it served to further validate the approach for me and the relationship worked so well in helping the person begin to deal with some things that I thought she would not have expected to talk about in the session.
The Gestalt session was eye opening and mind blowing for me. I loved the work that got done simply through what was happening in the relationship in that place then. I thought that that intensity was directly related to Congruence and UPR and I think you know that I still struggle to respond to the immediate dynamics of what is happening in the session between me and the client. The session was very challenging for me but also inspirational.
So the sessions dead good and the core of the day just super.
I think I would have liked a bit of theoretical discussion in the afternoon but it was clear the energy was going so best to bring to a halt. The people attending were really interesting too.
Here are my thoughts on the Gestalt/PCA workshop:-
It was a wonderful opportunity to see two experienced practitioners of each approach hold a counselling session, and to then have a discussion afterwards. It was the first time I had had this experience, and it was very valuable for me. I am a PCA practitioner, and did not have much idea of what Gestalt was.
Watching Frances counsel a client using the PCA was a powerful experience for me. After initial nervousness, it was beautiful to see how the process unfolded. Frances was fully psychologically engaged with the client, and mirrored her body language. It was almost like a dance, to watch the to and fro, and almost always the empathic response was appropriate.
In contrast, watching the Gestalt approach, I was uncomfortable most of the time. The counsellor didn’t seem to mirror the emotions/body language of the client, and often asked direct questions which I felt were not appropriate. I felt the counsellor was ‘in charge’ and had his own agenda rather than being alongside the client.
It confirmed for me that the PCA is the most respectful of the two approaches and why I am a Person Centred Practitioner. This is not to say that it is not challenging when appropriate.
‘I really didn’t know what to expect from the day or how it would flow. From the moment I arrived it felt very welcoming and the room and surroundings for the workshop made it feel relaxed and informal. The group quickly seemed to come together in discussion and even though we were predominantly strangers there was an atmosphere that felt very comfortable and safe.
We remained focussed on the topic of intimacy all day but the conversation moved from general ideas to those that were clearly more personal as the day progressed. This in itself provided food for thought for me on how quickly intimacy can develop between a group of people.
Frances provided ‘light touch’ facilitation and the overall feel of the day for me was a gentle and fluid sharing of ideas, thoughts and feelings which left me feeling both warm and enlightened.’ Holly
In joining this workshop, I hoped to gain a greater understanding of what this word ‘Intimacy’ actually means for me, both as a person-centred therapist and in my personal relationships. Such terms as ‘psychological contact’ , ’connection’, ‘meeting’ with related feelings such as ‘warmth’, ‘tenderness’ and ‘compassion’ can all refer to Intimacy, but can we define this enigmatic quality and know when it is present in our different relationships?
As the day progressed, the group members opened up to each other and were prepared to talk about their personal experiences on Intimacy as well trying to define what it was. It was very noticeable that when individuals moved from their ’head’ to ’heart’ the tenor of the discussion changed to a deeper level.This included silences which contained real meaning. For me personally (and I suspect for others too) , the group provided a safe and trusting environment in which I could express the more vulnerable parts of me without fear. As our individual barriers came down so the intimacy between us grew. Also important issues such as personal boundaries in therapy and when Intimacy is offered but not received were also aired.
There was no agenda by the facilitator (true to person-centred group working), and Frances allowed members free reign to explore whatever came up. She managed to draw together different strands, but even more, to empathise effectively with individual members as they talked about their own experiences. This was ‘Intimacy’ in practice! How powerful are the Core Conditions when offered and received, and when our defences are slowly dissolved the foundations for Intimacy are laid I heartily recommend this workshop for both therapists and non practitioners. ~ anon
If everyone lived their lives as we did all day, The Sun would have no copy and divorce lawyers would go out of business.
This group day gave a heart-centred learning experience that stayed focused on a chosen theme where everyone in the room is heard, respected, feels able to speak, and when one person is speaking everyone else listens with intensity and positive personal engagement. I felt warm-hearted connectiveness and no cliques. Three warm, genuine, hugs at the end say a lot.
Everyone contributed fairly evenly; no-one was silent and no-one ‘hogged the microphone’.
In my heart, I come away nurtured.
In my head, I come away with conclusions that intimacy is mutual, deep, connection … and lovely. And that trust is a necessary condition for intimacy.
Many thanks, Frances.