Therapy Events

I organise monthly talks and workshops for the North West Regional Psychotherapy Association.

For further details including location and cost please see the NWRPA website.

Behind Bars: therapeutic aspects of clinical work in prison settings

Andrew Shepherd
Friday 13 December 2019, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Prisons represent significant sites of complex suffering and distress – as represented by high estimated prevalence rates of mental disorder. In this talk I will attempt to consider some of the pertinent psychosocial and existential dynamics apparent within this population.

Andrew Shepherd is a clinical lecturer in forensic psychiatry at the University of Manchester and visiting psychiatrist within HMP Liverpool.

Bodies and Books: An Art Therapist’s Reading of Lacan

Jo Rostron
Friday 8 November 2019, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

The body is the longest serving medium for the storage, retrieval and transmission of human knowledge. Touching upon the history of the book and manuscript we explore what kind of text it is that Lacan suggested can be inscribed into our bodies to create a knowledge which has the potential to be rewritten and renewed.

Jo Rostron has a background in Fine Art and is a Member of the School of the Freudian Letter and the London Society of the New Lacanian School.

On Interpretation

Julia Evans
Friday 11 October 2019, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Julia is a practising Lacanian Psychoanalyst and member of the London Society of the New Lacanian School. Her website is Lacanian Works.

Where Does it Hurt? Pain and its Killing

Mark Fisher
Friday 13 September 2019, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

It has been estimated that within a recent two-year period, more Americans died from prescribed opioids and various other pain killers than in the entire Vietnam War. The Sunday Times included the diagram below in their report on Britain’s opioid crisis: we are sleepwalking towards carnage in our communities (24 February 2019). This discussion addresses: what is pain and why does it need killing?

Mark Fisher’s introduction to psychoanalysis took place during the 1970s when he worked at Oxford University for eight years. After many years of teaching and practice, Mark resigned as NHS professional lead in psychotherapy during November 2013. In July 2014 he became a member of a new analytic grouping, The School of the Freudian Letter ( He has a private practice in Liverpool.

Opioid Deaths by Region

August 2019: no event is organised for August

Are we too attached to normality and too invested in change?

Steff Oates
Friday 12 July 2019, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

In this workshop we will discuss whether therapists impose standards of ok-ness and normality, and thereby marginalise those who may think differently and may not conform to our ideas of health and change.

Steff Oates qualified as a Transactional Analyst in 1997. She runs a private practice in Cheshire, provides supervision and training, and regularly writes and speaks on TA theory and practice. She is Vice President of Research and Innovation for the International Transactional Analysis Association.

Lifespan Integration: a neurological tool for working with trauma

Humera Quddoos
Friday 14 June 2019, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

As scientific advances uncover the complex relationship between our brain, emotions and body, new approaches to integrating the neurological with psychotherapy are also developing. Just as your brain is changed in response to your past experiences with the world (attachments, deprivations, and traumas, for example), it will also change in response to future experiences. Lifespan Integration is one of these neurological change tools. Today’s presentation will provide an introduction to Lifespan Integration and show how this neurological approach can be integrated into the psychotherapeutic relationship.

Humera Quddoos is a Transpersonal Psychotherapist who has been working in private practice for over 15 years with a particular focus on trauma, sexual abuse, and complex PTSD. Humera discovered Lifespan Integration five years ago, and has been integrating it successfully into her client work since then.

Ageing and ageism in the therapy room

Alessandra Merizzi
Friday 10 May 2019, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

The scientific literature provides many studies showing the powerful influence of ageing stereotypes on the attitudes, decisions, actions as well as the holistic health of older people. Ageing stereotypes can be internalised during youth, be part of our belief system, and have an influence outside of our awareness. The aim of the workshop is to explore our own beliefs on ageing and how this may influence the way we perceive an ‘older’ client, our attitude towards them and the therapeutic relationship.

Alessandra is Gestalt Psychotherapist at the Manchester Gestalt Centre and a Clinical Psychologist at the Memory Assessment and Treatment Service in Oldham.

Beyond Doubt: Alfred Hitchcock’s Lina

Paul Melia
Friday 12 April 2019, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

This clinically orientated workshop facilitated by Paul Melia (Practising Analyst with the School of the Freudian Letter) is organised around clips from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 thriller, Suspicion.

Following a ‘passage to the act’ – not an ‘acting out’ – Lina McLaidlaw marries Johnny Aysgarth. She compares him to the celebrated Rialto Footbridge in Venice. After their honeymoon Lina reluctantly realises her husband does not observe the moral law. Questions then begin to arise for her: What am I to him? Why has he married me? The image of a broken footbridge recurs repetitively as Lina’s questions give way to doubts and then to suspicions and then to certainties. In a radical move, a 1931 work by Picasso is introduced – Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit – in which the image is produced by a line wandering over the canvas. The film climaxes as Johnny submits to the law, enabling Lina – a keen horse rider – to ‘get the bit between his teeth’ and to recognise her folly. What are we to make of all this?

Picasso, Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit

Picasso, Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit, 1931
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
© Succession Picasso

A Psychotherapist Reads the Newspaper: we live in turbulent times

Frank Kelley
Friday 8 March 2019, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Some time last year Frank was reading his newspaper, The Observer. A number of articles claimed there is evidence that for most of us in this country and around the world life has been improving over the last two decades. The newspaper also carried stories warning of various impending Apocalypses that are epitomised by the title of this talk. Frank will explore the ways uncontained and escalating apocalyptic anxieties can affect the mental health of individuals and their political impact at the societal level. He will use Kleinian ideas of paranoid anxiety – as well as the related defence of splitting and projection – to understand these contradictory views of our world.

Frank Kelley was a psychodynamic counsellor in the NHS and is now retired.

Folded Newspapers

What makes a trauma traumatic?

Owen Hewitson
Friday 8 February 2019, 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Trauma often appears to be a very broadly-spread notion in psychotherapy, leading ‘trauma’ to have been ascribed to all kinds of experience, from birth, to sex, to war, and even to love. This talk will argue that trauma is never simply about a single event, and that talking therapies reach a limit if they attempt to deal with trauma through speech alone. We will consider what the conditions for a ‘traumatic’ experience might be, the mechanism behind its action, and the most effective techniques for its handling in clinical settings.

Owen Hewitson is a PhD candidate in Psychoanalysis at the University of Middlesex and runs

Holbein detail

Click here for details of past events.

Reading Groups

For several years I organised and facilitated reading groups for counsellors, therapists and members of related professions. Details of these groups can be found under the supervision page of this website.