James Bennet-Levy, University of Sydney, Australia and Tobyn Bell, Greater Manchester CBT Training Centre and University of Manchester UK
CBT has traditionally focused on targeting ‘negative’ or unhelpful maintenance cycles. However, there is growing evidence for the benefit of creating and building new patterns of experience and self-representation. The notion of ‘building’ the new rather than (or in addition to) ‘dismantling’ the old is particularly relevant for clients with low self-esteem, shame, self-criticism and perfectionism. These transdiagnostic issues may continue to render clients vulnerable to mental health problems, even when a primary ‘disorder’ has been treated successfully.
This notion of creating and building the new ways of doing and being may also be particularly relevant for therapists seeking opportunities and frameworks for personal and professional development. One such framework is the “Old & New Ways of Being” framework, which drew on the previous work of Christine Padesky (Old/New Systems) and Kees Korrelboom’s COMET training. This Old & New Ways of Being approach, which was introduced in a self-experiential workbook for therapists (Bennett-Levy et al., 2015), involves a focus on strengths-based experiential and enactive practices to create memorable new experiences of acting, thinking, and feeling.
In this self-experiential workshop, participants will be introduced to the Old & New Ways of Being Model. They will then have the opportunity to build and practice their own ‘New Ways of Being’, using the therapist skill development approach known as self-practice/self-reflection (SP/SR) (Bennett-Levy et al., 2001, 2015; Kolts et al., 2018). SP/SR workshops differ from traditional therapist training. In SP/SR workshops, therapists use their own issues (of mild to moderate - not major – severity) to explore the value of different therapeutic strategies and learn the skills ‘from the inside out’. To do so, the facilitators create a safe environment (confidentiality agreements, recognition that we are all learners etc.) to acquire and build these skills.
This SP/SR workshop will focus on the use of 3 sets of experiential skills:
- Imagery (Bell et al., 2015; Hackmann et al., 2011)
- Chairwork (Bell et al., 2021; Pugh, 2019)
- Behavioural experiments (Bennett-Levy et al., 2004)
In line with the SP/SR model, structured reflective processes – individual and group, written and verbal – will be used to draw out key learnings.
Key learning objectives:
Anticipated outcomes for participating therapists are:
- An appreciation of the importance of building new ways of being and ways to formulate this process
- Enhanced understanding of the importance and value of experiential and emotion-focused processes in psychotherapy
- ]Enhancement of imagery skills
- Enhancement of behavioural experiments skills
- Enhancement of chairwork skills
- Enhanced confidence to use the above skills in their clinical practice
James Bennett-Levy is Professor in Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is a recognised leader in the field of therapist training. His influential models of therapist skill development – the Declarative-Procedural-Reflective model (2006, 2007, 2009) and the Personal Practice model (2018, 2019) have been widely adopted internationally, as has his pioneering self-experiential approach to therapist training, known as self-practice/self-reflection (SP/SR) (2001-2022). He has co-authored 5 books for therapists: the Oxford Guides to Behavioural Experiments (2004), to Low Intensity CBT Interventions, (2010), and to Imagery in Cognitive Therapy (2011), and two self-practice/self-reflection (SP/SR) books for therapists: Experiencing CBT from the Inside Out (2015) and Experiencing Compassion Focused Therapy from the Inside Out (2018).
Tobyn Bell is a Compassion Focused Therapy Trainer, Supervisor and Psychotherapist. His is also an accredited Schema Therapist and Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist. He is a co-founder of Chairwork (www.chairwork.co.uk) and a co-author of the book ‘Compassion Focused Therapy from the Inside Out: A Self-practice/Self-reflection Workbook for Therapists’. Tobyn regularly provides national and international training on compassion and chairwork, and is actively involved in ongoing research within these areas. He currently works as a lecturer and operational lead at the University of Manchester.
Bell, T., Mackie, L., & Bennett-Levy, J. (2015). 'Venturing towards the dark side': The use of imagery interventions by recently qualified cognitive-behavioural therapists. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 22, 591-603.
Bell, T., Montague, J., Elander, J., & Gilbert, P. (2021). Multiple emotions, multiple selves: compassion focused therapy chairwork. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 14.
Bell, T., Hickey, T., & Bennett-Levy, J. (2021). Self-practice/ self-reflection (SP/ SR) training for compassion-focused therapists. In G. Simos & P. Gilbert (Eds.), Compassion focused therapy: Clinical practice and applications (pp. 371-384). Routledge, London.
Bennett-Levy, J., Butler, G., Fennell, M.J.V., Hackmann, A., Mueller, M. & Westbrook, D. (Eds.) (2004): The Oxford guide to behavioural experiments in cognitive therapy. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Bennett-Levy, J., Thwaites, R., Haarhoff, B. & Perry, H. (2015): Experiencing CBT from the inside out: A self-practice/self-reflection workbook for therapists. Guilford, New York.
Bennett-Levy, J., Turner, F., Beaty, T., Smith, M., Paterson, B. & Farmer, S. (2001). The value of self-practice of cognitive therapy techniques and self-reflection in the training of cognitive therapists. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 29, 203-220.
Hackmann, A., Bennett-Levy, J. & Holmes, E.A. (2011). The Oxford guide to imagery in cognitive therapy. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Kolts, R., Bell, T., Bennett-Levy, J. & Irons, C. (2018). Experiencing compassion focused therapy from the inside out: A self-practice/self-reflection workbook for therapists. Guilford, New York.
Pugh, M. (2019). Cognitive behavioural chairwork: Distinctive features. Routledge, London.