Counselling Training - Beyond the Technobabble: working confidently with problematic online behaviour

A one day course on 27th October at Burrswood with Chris Willoughby

Goals for this workshop

  1. introduce a tool for understanding the function of the technology used by the client
  2. empower the therapist to work competently and confidently with this aspect of harmful behaviour
  3. facilitate a self care and harm reduction framework for the client
  4. practice using the framework through use of a case study
  5. consider how the framework might (or might not) fit in with various models of therapeutic practice

Trapped

For a number of years, I worked with men who had been convicted of internet-related sexual offences.  One frequent characteristic of this work was that my clients would describe how they were trapped by their behaviour, at the time of the offending, and in the present through social punishment; this ‘trappedness’ would often manifest as overwhelming confusion… ‘’why have I done this’ ... without a clear grasp of what, actually, ‘this’ was - what was the problematic behaviour?

Another manifestation of confusion was the technology.  I was chasing my tail trying to stay up to date with all the gadgets, software, and terminology that, in the end, all just amassed into technobabble.  My clients’ use of technology was so ingenious, and so diverse, that it was impossible to keep up - I felt overwhelmed and de-skilled.

Breathing space

Out of this messy work, patterns started to emerge that enabled me to consider the client’s experience with much greater clarity.  These patterns developed into a tool, first for supervision and then for working with the clients themselves. 

The result was like clearing a space in which to breathe, take stock and plan a way out of the confusion.

A framework for change

The tool shifts the focus from tracking the endless variety of technology to looking at its fundamental purpose and relating that purpose to the client’s need and experience. Initially, there were three key benefits for my practice (then a fourth emerged): 1. it was simple, 2. it offered a chance to make therapeutic progress, 3. I was not overwhelmed by technobabble, and then 4. I could also address resistance to change.

Resistance is fertile

The framework has proved very helpful in practice, in supervision, and in many clients’ experience, but not in every case. Sometimes, finding a way through the confusion and towards responsibly managing potential harmful behaviour was subtly but strongly resisted. In forensic work, this has risk implications, but therapeutically, it has facilitated opportunities for empathic connection and a real understanding of the role of problematic behaviour in the client’s life. The once overwhelming experience of exploring technology and behaviour became a resource for therapeutic openness and progress.

About the Trainer:

Chris is a counsellor and supervisor in private practice in London and Crowborough, East Sussex. He began his counselling career in 2000 whilst working in a drug & alcohol rehab in Lambeth, offering group and individual counselling to adult men and women in recovery. He has over 12 years’ experience working with compulsive and harmful sexual behaviour and has promoted the work of counselling and psychotherapy in this field. Key previous forensic community posts include Chair of NOTA (London Region)* and Vice Chair of the Forensic Therapists Association. He has a Master’s Degree and Post-graduate Diploma in Counselling, from Goldsmiths College (University of London), and an Advanced Diploma in Forensic Counselling & Psychotherapy from Wealden College. Today, he provides training on a range of subjects, from practical clinical approaches to working with compulsive behaviour, risk and harm, to the neuroscience of relationships. He is also a former tutor at Wealden College of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

About the seminar: The day will start at 9.30am and end at 4.30pm and the completed course will count as 6 hours CPD. Certificates will be provided by the trainer. The cost for this one day course is £97.50. An application form is attached completed forms will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Lunch is not included but you are welcome to bring your own and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Burrswood's beautiful surroundings. Burrswood welcomes people of all faiths and none. Alternatively do book into the Cafe at Burrswood 01892 865991.

Please note: This course will only go ahead if a minimum number of delegates are signed up by 29th September 2017. If there is insufficient demand the course will not proceed. Once confirmed, payments are non-refundable and will be used to support Burrswood Health and Wellbeing and its charitable activities.

To Book: Please call Reservations on 01892 865988 or complete the attached form or email reservations@burrswood.org.uk

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