Your further learning & development

The aim of INTEGRA CPD is to develop a comprehensive cutting-edge programme for continuing professional development, in collaboration with practitioners like yourself and in response to your evolving needs and feedback – a programme that is based on a broad-spectrum integration of all the therapeutic approaches and on embodied, relational and integral principles.

Read more about what we offer >>

How do we make our CPD learning impactful and relevant to our everyday practice? Should our own further development not be informed by the same therapeutic principles which underpin our work? In therapy as in teaching therapy, we aim to ‘walk our talk’ by focussing on the learning process rather than only the content – creating safe, creative and stimulating learning environments, suited to the variety of learning styles that therapists bring to the group.

More about how we facilitate your learning >>

In our own work, we are aiming at an integration that draws on the theories, wisdom and gifts of all the therapeutic approaches. We welcome and attract therapists from across the modalities who find inspiration and challenge in the cross-fertilisation between different schools and orientations. You can read more about the main principles of our approach which can be summarised as: full-spectrum integrative – embodied/bodymind connection – relational – informed by modern neuroscience – systemic/multi-dimensional/integral – rooted in the ‘Wounded Healer’ – embracing uncertainty, conflict and paradox.

Read more about our integrative approach

Recent News from INTEGRA CPD

What are therapists looking for in their CPD training?

What have been your experiences of recent CPD events?
Useful? Boring? Inspiring? Effective?
How has it affected your practice?

See some evaluation feedback from a recent workshop.

Read more >>

Broad-spectrum Integrative North London CPD Group

Some places still available in this ongoing cross-modality CPD group, meeting in North London for 4 or 5 days per year, building an integrative community of practitioners.

Next group days for 2015: 27/28 June, 26 September, 22 November

Read the full description >>

Do not take our word for it!

Want to know what our events are like?

Depending on topic, aims and group composition, it’s usally some mixture of experiential work (role-plays of vignettes, live sessions, skills practice), theory/discussion as well as individual and group process. Have a look at what other participants are saying:

See Feedback and Testimonials >>

All published articles & papers / presentations / hand-outs

You can now find all our writing, a list of all presentations (many of them available as pdf’s) and all Michael’s hand-outs in our new Resources section of this site.

This website is designed to address the continuing professional development needs of counsellors, psychotherapists and therapeutic practitioners in general. If you are looking for a therapist or supervisor, or want to work individually with one of us, please see the following websites:

Oxford Counselling and Psychotherapy

Michael has been running an Oxford-based referral service for about 25 years, helping you find the ‘right’ therapy for you. Assessment and referral sessions take place in West Oxford, and are primarily oriented towards Oxfordshire, but referrals and recommendations can also be made in London, occasionally nationwide and sometimes internationally.

Michael Soth

To work with Michael individually in Oxford, please use the contact form to e-mail him. He offers short and long-term individual psychotherapy, as well as individual supervision for therapeutic practitioners, coaches and consultants. He currently maintains a waiting list and is usually unable to take anybody on within less than six months.

Morit Heitzler

To work with Morit individually in Oxford, you can refer to her website. She offers short and long-term individual psychotherapy, specialises in trauma treatment (integrative, somatic, including EMDR) and offers individual supervision for therapeutic practitioners as well as complementary therapists.

Since June 2013 Michael has been publishing a blog at Psychotherapy Excellence – UK’s national portal for CPD – on the dilemmas of continuing professional development in the ‘impossible profession’. To make it easier for you to follow the sequence of entries (as they are really meant to build on each other step-by-step), he has created a dedicated blog site. If you have missed any of the entries, having them all in one place like that will make it easy to catch up. Here is the link:
The Impossible Profession: Counselling & Psychotherapy
Michael has been interviewed several times now for webcasts on various topics, including ‘What is psychotherapy?’ (see preview) and ‘The embodied phenomenology of enactment’ (see preview). You can find these webcasts, which feature interviews with many other well-known therapists, on sale at: Psychotherapy Excellence.

Sun. 26 Apr. 2015 - London: 1-day CABP Conference on 'Embodied Intersubjectivity'

This cutting-edge dialogue between the philosophy of embodied intersubjectivity (one of the most promising developments to come out of modern neuroscience and its cross-fertilisation with philosophy) and the everyday reality of embodied therapeutic practice.

The notions of ‘embodiment’ and ‘intersubjectivity’ are central to the therapeutic relationship and to modern notions of relationality. However, these notions are also surrounded by confusion and polarised assumptions:
  • ‘embodiment’ acquires its polarised meaning in contrast to ‘thinking’ and the ‘talking therapies’;
  • ‘intersubjectivity’ is conceived of in opposition to ‘one-person psychology’ and the Cartesian ‘myth of the isolated mind’

However, in their polarised meanings, these supposedly helpful and paradigm-shifting notions become too one-dimensional, rigid and unhelpful, creating as many conceptual traps and problems as they are meant to solve.

It may take a philosopher (rather than a therapist) to help us sort out these tangles and historically loaded concepts, and strip them down to terms that are phenomenologically useful, so they can do the work they are meant to do, and so we can work with them. We are inviting Shaun Gallagher, a philosopher who is known for his thinking and writing about both ‘embodiment’ and ‘intersubjectivity’, and who does so from a phenomenological perspective.

PlatoGallagherSocrates_72

with philosopher professor Shaun Gallagher

author of:
“How the Body Shapes the Mind”

We have assembled an inspiring panel to discuss professor Gallagher’s presentation:

Panel: Susie Orbach, Nick Totton, Jean Knox, Werner Prall & Birgit Heuer

 

Panel

Conference Information >>

Forthcoming Events

Dec
10
Sat
2016
Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group with Michael Soth @ East Down Centre
Dec 10 @ 10:00 – Dec 11 @ 17:00

Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2016 (Weekend 4 of 4)

with Nick Totton & Michael

These workshops, designed for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the approaches, are an opportunity to work with and learn from two of the most experienced trainers at the forefront of bringing embodiment into psychotherapy.
Rather than grafting the body onto established practice as one more eclectic technique, Nick and Michael have been working towards a non-dualistic embodied way of being and relating in the therapeutic relationship.
This series of CPD training events provides an ideal container for your continuing professional development, rooted in your own embodied process.

For full details  regarding this unique venture in Britain’s Southwest, see the dedicated page: Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2016.

It is likely that the group will continue in 2017 with another series of four weekends.

Jan
28
Sat
2017
Oxford: Integrative Trauma Therapy – 3 CPD Days with Morit Heitzler – Workshop 2 (tbc) @ Asian Cultural Centre
Jan 28 @ 10:00 – 17:00
see the dedicated page

For all the background information and a workshop description of all three CPD days

see the dedicated page

Download the leaflet

Download the booking form to email back

Download the booking form to print and post

Mar
25
Sat
2017
Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group with Nick Totton @ Exeter, Devon
Mar 25 @ 10:00 – Mar 26 @ 17:00

Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2017 (Weekend 1 of 4, with Nick)

with Nick Totton & Michael

These workshops, designed for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the approaches, are an opportunity to work with and learn from two of the most experienced trainers at the forefront of bringing embodiment into psychotherapy.
Rather than grafting the body onto established practice as one more eclectic technique, Nick and Michael have been working towards a non-dualistic embodied way of being and relating in the therapeutic relationship.
This series of CPD training events provides an ideal container for your continuing professional development, rooted in your own embodied process.

For full details  regarding this unique venture in Britain’s Southwest, see the dedicated page: Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2017.

Oxford: Integrative Trauma Therapy – 3 CPD Days with Morit Heitzler – Workshop 3 (tbc) @ Asian Cultural Centre
Mar 25 @ 10:00 – 17:00
see the dedicated page

For all the background information and a workshop description of all three CPD days

see the dedicated page

Download the leaflet

Download the booking form to email back

Download the booking form to print and post

Apr
29
Sat
2017
“Working at the Edge of Chaos” with Nick Totton & Michael @ North Oxford Association
Apr 29 @ 10:00 – Apr 30 @ 17:00
"Working at the Edge of Chaos" with Nick Totton & Michael @ North Oxford Association | Oxford | United Kingdom

About this weekend

This weekend is becoming a bit of an annual tradition - it has been running for several years now since 2009. Usually we have about 12 to 16 participants, and a lively, vibrant atmosphere. In 2016 I facilitated it by myself, but usually my colleague Nick Totton and I are running it together, adding another layer of exploration and dynamic.
You can find some feedback from previous participants below.

The basic idea we get from complexity is that we do not have to rely on effort, pushing, force and discipline to create and maintain change. A lot of counselling and psychotherapy gets stuck in a battle against the client’s negative patterns, e.g. addictions, eating disorders, self-harm, obsessions, destructive relationship patterns etc. The client and therapist can be seen to be working hard to confront and overcome ingrained patterns that do not seem to want to shift.

We then start thinking about the client’s resistance, and their investments in maintaining the pattern, and the payoffs they get from remaining stuck in it. Client and therapist then re-double their efforts and start resorting to all kinds of techniques and tricks and methods to bring bigger guns onto the battlefield. But apart from temporary victories, the apparent cooperation between client and therapist does not seem to create lasting results.

Now, in many situations the pattern may be very ingrained and may not shift, whatever we do. However, the kinds of models and ideas which have been passed down the generations of psychotherapy over the last 100 years are largely rooted in late 19th century ideas of change – we could say in a Newtonian model of force and counterforce, or a linear model of change. In a world of discrete inanimate billiard balls, that model seems to work quite well: the harder you push, the bigger change you get.

However, in a world of complex human systems – both inwardly in terms of the psyche and outwardly in terms of relationships – that linear paradigm of change is often counter-productive. As therapists operating within that kind of paradigm, we are then exacerbating the stuckness in the system, adding to whatever resistance there already is and reinforcing it by pushing blindly against it.

This is where complexity theory can help us: by thinking of therapy and the client’s inner world as a finely balanced, dynamic system of complex forces, it does not necessarily need a huge exertion of influence for the system to re-balance itself differently. On a balanced seesaw, one only needs to add a small weight on one side for it to tip.

This weekend will help you to not only think about, but to experience people and their interaction – i.e. yourself, others, the whole group, the leader – as such a dynamic system, and to attend to the processes that always already are present that want to happen within it. In complexity theory terms we are thinking about emergent processes versus established structures, intra-psychically, interpersonally and socially.

It is in the nature of this proposition that the weekend and its format are unpredictable – just like therapy itself: it has uncertainty and risk, but – at the edge of the window of tolerance – also profound transformational potential.

Here is the kind of thing that people say about previous weekends:

“A quick line to say thank you for hosting the ‘Working at the Edge of Chaos’ weekend. It was an experience that created room for greater awareness of myself in ways that I would never have expected..[…] The weekend surpassed all of my expectations.” S.H.

“Thank you so much for leading another tremendously valuable and thought provoking weekend. And thanks also for sending the hand-outs so promptly. I really do feel that I benefit from looking at and experiencing chaos, and its edge, in the group that you so wonderfully facilitate. This is why this is my third year of attending. The experiential group process is so valuable to me. I have already seen my first client of the week and have more clearly been able to attune to the ‘edge’ between us and I feel that we have had a deeper session as a result. Thank you.” V.J.

For a more detailed exploration of how complexity theory can be useful, read on …

How are chaos and complexity relevant to our work as therapists?

Chaos and complexity theory are recently developed disciplines that give us new perspectives on how systems evolve and change. Therefore, the more we think about therapy in terms of systems, the more these theories apply to our work: to each individual bodymind-psyche as a system, or the therapeutic relationship, or the social networks both client and therapist are embedded in.
Process in complex systems – from galaxies to human beings to microbes – is understood to operate in a dynamic tension between stable equilibrium and evolving change, between established structures and emerging process: at the edge of chaos.

The well-known idea is that it only takes a butterfly flapping its wings to tip the meteorological balance towards engendering a hurricane on the other side of the planet. It’s not that simple, of course, but there are similar dynamics at work in the psyche, where unconscious forces can accumulate invisibly, and lead to apparently sudden, big outer changes.

The traditional ‘linear’ paradigm of change in therapy

That is not how we traditionally approach change in therapy where it is usually assumed that it takes lots of concerted effort – by both client and therapist – to make big and lasting changes. The bigger the effort and force we apply, the bigger the change. In such a Newtonian universe – rather than attending to systemic configurations – we get focussed on what we want to achieve, i.e. on insight, sustained discipline and conscious choices; this usually involves overcoming resistances. The very idea of therapy being effective is then defined in quite linear terms as achieving progress, i.e. moving the client on, closer towards some idea of psychological health; and frequently the client is expected to fully get behind the change project.
Within that mindset, much of therapy subscribes to some idea of what’s wrong and needs to be improved, i.e. ideas of pathology, borrowed from medicine – we therefore then need a ‘treatment plan’ and a therapy that is goal-oriented, symptom-focussed and directive, operating through an exclusively ‘linear’ paradigm of change. Even humanistic therapies can imply ‘linear’ agendas (e.g. self-actualisation). The idea of change as something we envision, plan and make happen is based on such ‘linearity’, like climbing up a mountain of steady progress.

Not all change is ‘linear’ – in fact ‘linear’ is the exception

Complexity theory reminds us that most change in reality does not follow those linear ideas (which are virtual abstractions and at best approximations, like a sequence of straight lines approximating an organic curve). In reality, many interdependent variables as well as feedback loops affect every part of a system – on the one hand keeping things stable in the status quo and on the other pushing for new structures, ‘attractors’ and integrations. This can lead to apparently sudden ruptures and new possibilities (which – we understand with hindsight – have been brewing for a long time, waiting for favourable conditions).
This kind of dynamic change has been called ‘non-linear’ (as the effect is not in proportion to the force invested in making it happen). And it is in the nature of the beast that this kind of change is unpredictable and uncontrollable.
So rather than relying on conscious intention, deliberation and discipline, change is seen as always already emerging, always already underway. Therefore, rather than forcing change – to get rid of something negative, or to create something positive – we can be interested in what is already happening, what wants to happen, and what is opposing it. This resonates with Gestalt’s paradoxical theory: “Change happens when we accept ‘what is’.” We then take as our starting point that we are in conflict already – pushing for change, resisting emergence, fighting against ‘what is’ – those force fields always already exist, and we ignore or override them at our peril.

A spectrum of non-linear systemic forces and tendencies

Thus, complexity gives us a more comprehensive and embracing notion that there are many different types of change: linear and non-linear, regressive or progressive, sudden or incremental, overwhelming or organic, chaotic or planned; and it gives us the idea that systemic change might only need a therapist flapping their wings in a facilitative way, rather than pushing a boulder – or a donkey – up the hill.

At the boundary between established state and emerging process is the edge of chaos, where things are complex and in flux, the full picture unknown and outcomes unpredictable – like the shapes formed by the turbulences of rising smoke or flowing water, sensitive to the slightest environmental variations. The therapeutic process is similar, and it depends on the subtlety of our perception whether we are able to notice where that edge of chaos is from moment to moment.
Rather than imagining that we are directing the boat of therapy across a calm lake in a straight deliberate line, facilitating any kind of dynamic process in any complex system is more like white water rafting – giving an occasional intentional steer at a crucial moment, but knowing that the situation is fundamentally unpredictable. The illusion of being able to control the process is one of the greatest hindrances in the helping professions, and complexity puts that impulse into perspective.

Stability and risk – the paradox at the edge of chaos

Traditional science, and traditional therapy, find it hard to tolerate and operate beyond control, in that fertile area at the edge of chaos. Complexity theory, however, gives us the tools to thrive there, helping us to understand non-linear change and to surrender to its participative, unpredictable nature. Inevitably, this confronts us with our own comfort zones and habits as therapists, e.g. our own bias towards stability or change, our own tendency to court, avoid or accept risk. This kind of enquiry opens up a rich field of therapeutic spontaneity and creativity: rather than fighting for change or against the staus quo, we attend to subtle messages of emergent phenomena in the field which are already happening.

Why call it ‘paradoxical’?

Because the more we include our spontaneous embodied, emotional, imaginal and mental processes in our moment-to-moment awareness, the more elusive the clear distinction between ‘risk’ and ‘stability’ becomes – we realise that these apparent polarities co-create each other, deconstruct each other, until each subtly turns into the other. At the edge of chaos, risk and stability imply each other …

Chaos implies ‘embodiment’ and bodymind process

Following the therapeutic process at this level of paradox requires attention to bodymind and systemic micro-detail, both internally and interpersonally, and a therapeutic presence that is equally fluid and solid: anchored and stable as well as nimble and mercurial. We then recognise that on pre-reflexive levels of the interaction in the therapeutic relationship, the attachment – and the working alliance – is indeed a shifting, oscillating complex dance – there are many butterflies flapping their wings all the time, and it needs our own differentiated embodiment and flesh-and-blood presence to notice and pursue them.

Learning together at the edge of chaos

In this territory, timing, responsiveness and spontaneity are crucial – learning about therapy at the edge of chaos cannot happen via a manual, not even a video: you need to be present, embodied in the room in the group and participate. Left-brain reflection – as important as it is in the therapeutic position – usually happens after the event, maybe in preparation for the next one … For this event, we will turn that requirement into a feature: just as we do not have control over the process in therapy, we cannot and will not set a curriculum for this weekend, and you will become co-responsible for the unfolding of your own and the group’s learning process.
The weekend is an opportunity to dance at your own growing edge as a person and a therapist, to deepen your own idiosyncratic therapeutic style and find your own way to inhabit the paradox of risk and stability.

 

Download the leaflet (including booking form)

May
6
Sat
2017
Certificate in Supervision training course for experienced practitioners in the helping professions @ Thriplow Village Hall
May 6 @ 10:00 – 17:00

Extended model of parallel process

This CPD day will be part of CST’s supervision training programme – for all details contact CST.

Jun
3
Sat
2017
Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group with Michael Soth
Jun 3 @ 10:00 – Jun 4 @ 17:00

Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2017 (Weekend 2 of 4, with Michael)

with Nick Totton & Michael

These workshops, designed for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the approaches, are an opportunity to work with and learn from two of the most experienced trainers at the forefront of bringing embodiment into psychotherapy.
Rather than grafting the body onto established practice as one more eclectic technique, Nick and Michael have been working towards a non-dualistic embodied way of being and relating in the therapeutic relationship.
This series of CPD training events provides an ideal container for your continuing professional development, rooted in your own embodied process.

For full details  regarding this unique venture in Britain’s Southwest, see the dedicated page: Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2017.

Sep
16
Sat
2017
Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group with Nick Totton
Sep 16 @ 10:00 – Sep 17 @ 17:00

Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2017 (Weekend 3 of 4, with Nick)

with Nick Totton & Michael

These workshops, designed for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the approaches, are an opportunity to work with and learn from two of the most experienced trainers at the forefront of bringing embodiment into psychotherapy.
Rather than grafting the body onto established practice as one more eclectic technique, Nick and Michael have been working towards a non-dualistic embodied way of being and relating in the therapeutic relationship.
This series of CPD training events provides an ideal container for your continuing professional development, rooted in your own embodied process.

For full details  regarding this unique venture in Britain’s Southwest, see the dedicated page: Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2017.

Dec
2
Sat
2017
Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group with Michael Soth
Dec 2 @ 10:00 – Dec 3 @ 17:00

Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2017 (Weekend 4 of 4 with Michael)

with Nick Totton & Michael

These workshops, designed for counsellors and psychotherapists from across the approaches, are an opportunity to work with and learn from two of the most experienced trainers at the forefront of bringing embodiment into psychotherapy.
Rather than grafting the body onto established practice as one more eclectic technique, Nick and Michael have been working towards a non-dualistic embodied way of being and relating in the therapeutic relationship.
This series of CPD training events provides an ideal container for your continuing professional development, rooted in your own embodied process.

For full details  regarding this unique venture in Britain’s Southwest, see the dedicated page: Exeter: Body-oriented CPD Weekend Group 2017.

It is likely that the group will continue in 2018 with another series of four weekends.

See Calendar with all Events >>

INTEGRA CPD – Trainers

Michael Soth
Michael SothIntegral-Relational Body Psychotherapist (UKCP)
Michael is an Oxford-based integral-relational Body Psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor, with more than 28 years’ experience of practising and teaching from an integrative perspective.
More about Michael >>
Morit Heitzler
Morit HeitzlerIntegrative Body Psychotherapist (Msc, UKCP)
Morit is an Integrative Body Psychotherapist (UKCP) based in West Oxford, where she maintains a private practice. She has been teaching in the UK and in Israel for more than 15 years.
More about Morit >>