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Feedback from UKCP 2017

Feedback from UKCP 2017

For those of you who know me, you know I have run and organised 20 international conferences over the past two decades. Rather than going on about those, I want to talk today about the conference I attended yesterday organised by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. I should declare an interest in that my best friend and colleague Fiona Biddle, whom I have run all of the above mentioned conferences with, was on the conference committee which put on yesterday’s event.

I have to say that in the past, that I had felt a note of dread going to psychotherapy conferences. They are usually dry navel gazing affairs. However, this was different. This event was held in the magnificent facilities of Regent’s University in London. There was a dynamism about this conference that I had not experienced in a psychotherapy conference before. The Conference Chair, Patricia Hunt oozed confidence and professionalism. The keynote addresses by Iain McGilchrist and Richard Erskine were informative, entertaining and thought provoking.

One of the highlights for me was the three chairs discussion which took place after the keynotes. The three chairs represent UKCP, BACP and BPC. Martin Pollecoff, Andrew Reeves and Gary Feredy represented these professional bodies most ably. Having been a member of UKCP for more than 21 years, it made me proud of my organisation that it is involved with this collaborative project which is designed to help psychotherapy and counselling speak more with one voice.

After lunch, I attended a workshop on wellbeing which was presented by two psychotherapy legends, Professors Emmy Van Deurzen and Digby Tantam as well as Peter Kunzman the Policy and Public Affairs Officer of UKCP and chaired by Fiona Biddle. A fascinating discussion ensued about the sociological and philosophical implications of wellbeing and how psychotherapy can help to facilitate wellbeing nationally.

After a brief coffee break we were treated to the Psychotherapy Question Time, professionally hosted by boradcaster Michael Collie. The panel of experts were the Rt Hon. Prof Paul Burstow, Jenny Edwards of the Mental Health Foundation, Professor Andrew Samuels and Judith Lask of the Institute of Family Therapy. The questions posed were both thoughtful and insightful. The answers were well defined and sometimes a bit controversial. I was left with a feeling of how wonderful it was to see professionals discussing the issues of the day professionally and dynamically.

The conference closed with UKCP Chair Martin Pollecoff launching, what I am sure is to be a great campaign, “The Campaign for Real Psychotherapy”. This campaign I believe will not only give the public something to think about, but also we, the professional psychotherapists, will be challenged to find a way to discuss and describe what it is that makes our psychotherapy “real psychotherapy”. #ukcpevents

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