Sat, 13 Oct | Aashna Counselling and Psychotherapy

Power in the Therapy Room - Nick Totton

We bring certain power relationships into the therapy room with us, and discover certain power relationships already there, created by the nature of the work. Video £150 / £140 (For Aashna Residents, BAATN members & Students). 2 DAY EVENT Sat 13 & Sun 14 Oct 2018 10 AM - 5 PM
Registration is Closed
Power in the Therapy Room - Nick Totton

Time & Location

13 Oct 2018, 10:00 – 14 Oct 2018, 17:00
Aashna Counselling and Psychotherapy, 1 Castle Mews, London N12 9EH, UK

About the Event

Power in the Therapy Room with Nick Totton

We bring certain power relationships into the therapy room with us, and discover certain power relationships already there, created by the nature of the work. On this workshop we will explore both of these and ask ourselves how best to work with them, using discussion, experiential exercises and supervision. Nick and Pretish discuss the workshop:

This special 2 day workshop will look at:

  • How power differentials from the general social context – for example around gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class – are imported into the therapy/counselling relationship, often without being made explicit; and how these can be addressed. Hopefully we will be able to learn from workshop participants’ experience of bringing disempowered social roles into therapy.

  • How power relations are structured by the therapy relationship itself – the therapist as owner of the space and expert on what happens there; and also how this entangles itself with power relations imported from wider society (e.g. black/female/gay therapist with white/male/straight client).

I will be arguing that practitioners need to be continuously alert to both sorts of power issue; but also, that we need to let go of any notion of eliminating or defusing such issues, and instead try to open them up to the transformative effects of awareness. Therapy is inherently a place where power is struggled over and negotiated; done consciously, this can be one of its strengths.

I am mindful in all this of my privilege and unearned rank as a white, male, middle class, not visibly queer person; and I strive to use this privilege and rank to actively support those who do not share it. In this I repeatedly fail, and I may well do so at points in the workshop, which will enable a ‘live’ experience of the struggle over power in the therapy room.

A delicious complementary vegan/vegetarian lunch will be provided on both days.

Further reading

  • Nick Totton, In and out of the mainstream: Therapy in its social and political context. In Sheila Haugh & Stephen Paul (eds.), The Therapeutic Relationship: Perspectives and Themes (PCCS Books)
  • Nick Totton, Power in the therapy room. Therapy Today, September 2009.
  • Cedar Barstow, The Power Differential and Why It Matters So Much in Therapy.
  • Articles on the Black, African and Asian Therapy Network website:
  • Articles on the Pink Practice website:

About Nick

I am a therapist and trainer with about 35 years experience. Originally a Reichian body therapist, my approach has become broad based and open to the spontaneous and unexpected. I have an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies, and have worked with Process Oriented Psychology and trained as a craniosacral therapist; I am currently involved with ecopsychology and addressing climate change. I have been Chair of Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility and of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Union; I also co-founded and edited Psychotherapy and Politics International. I have a grown up daughter. I have written several books, including Psychotherapy and Politics; Wild Therapy; and most recently, Embodied Relating: The Ground of Psychotherapy. I live in Cornwall with my partner and grow vegetables

  • Full Price
  • Aashna Resident /Student
  • BAATN Members

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