We normally have 10 events per year running from September. The NWRPA does not meet in January or August. You can join at any time your membership entitles you to attend all events for a year from the date you join. Please see Membership page for details. All events are held on the second Monday of the month commencing at 19:00 BST/GMT. Events typically last for 60 to 90 minutes and are followed by a networking meeting for Members.
Our programme of events for 2023-24 is taking shape, although later Events have yet to be finalised. If you would like to make a presentation, or give a talk on a topic of interest to our membership, please contact the Association secretary Mr Frank Kelley.
September 2023 – Relationships with food and how they can branch into disordered eating
Dr Samantha Brooks
Monday 11 September 2023, 7.00pm – 8.00pm BST
Dr. Samantha Brooks is a Reader of Cognitive Neuroscience in the School of Psychology, Faculty of Health, Liverpool John Moores University, UK, and a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society. Her research specialises in the neural mechanisms of impulse control in various psychiatric conditions (e.g. addiction, eating disorders.
Eating disorders are diagnosed in 1-10% of people worldwide and include formal diagnoses of anorexia nervosa (extreme attempts to restrict food intake), bulimia nervosa (intermittent binge eating and restriction) and binge eating disorder (lack of food intake restriction). In 2022 the Royal College of Psychiatrists reported that eating disorder admission rates in the UK continue to rise to a current high of 84%, which is alarming as NHS services are overcrowded, understaffed and financially at breaking point post-Covid. A similar pattern is observed in other Westernised countries. In otherwise healthy individuals without a formal eating disorder diagnosis, neuroscientists can also see a broad distinction in relationships with food. Some people are ‘cognitive eaters’ who are driven to eat by responding to external cues (e.g. “it is time to eat now”). Others are ‘hedonic eaters’ who are driven to eat by ‘bottom-up’ reward cues from the internal body cues (e.g. “I like how that tastes, I will eat it”). These broad relationships with food can determine whether, under cognitive stress, a person is more prone to losing or gaining weight, and to be distracted by issues surrounding food and the body.
October 2023 – The Brain Basis of Consciousness: 9th October 2023
Prof Mark Solms
Monday 9 October 2023, 7.00pm – 8.00pm BST
Perceptual imagery and language dominates our conscious experience. These functions are performed by the cerebral cortex. Understandably, for this reason, we have for the past two centuries considered the cortex (which is uniquely well developed in human beings) to be the ‘organ of consciousness’. However, as early as 1949, evidence began to emerge which suggested that consciousness is a far more primitive function and that it arises endogenously from the inner most core of the ancient brain stem. The structures that were implicated are by no means uniquely human; we share them with all vertebrates. In this talk, evidence that has accumulated over the last 20 years will be presented to support the view that consciousness is neither a uniquely human nor cortical function, and that it arises fundamentally from raw feelings (like pleasure and pain) that we share even with fishes.
Prof Mark Solms is a South African psychoanalyst and neuropsychologist, who is known for his discovery of the brain mechanisms of dreaming and his use of psychoanalytic methods in contemporary neuroscience. He holds the Chair of Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital (Departments of Psychology and Neurology) and is the President of the South African Psychoanalytical Association. He is also Research Chair of the International Psychoanalytical Association (since 2013).
Solms founded the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society in 2000 and he was a Founding Editor (with Ed Nersessian) of the journal Neuropsychoanalysis. He is Director of the Arnold Pfeffer Center for Neuropsychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. He is also Director of the Neuropsychoanalysis Foundation in New York, a Trustee of the Neuropsychoanalysis Fund in London, and Director of the Neuropsychoanalysis Trust in Cape Town (from Wikipedia).
Widely published, his most recent book (2021) is entitled “The Hidden Spring: A Journey to the Source of Consciousness”. Reviewing it in the Guardian, Oliver Burkeman wrote, “Nobody bewitched by [the mystery of consciousness] can afford to ignore the solution proposed by Mark Solms in The Hidden Spring.
November 2023 –
Quantum Psychotherapy: Uncertainty, entanglement and spooky action at a distance
Monday 13 November 2023, 7.00 – 8.00pm GMT
Dr Alan Priest
In this talk, Alan will draw some interesting and hopefully thought-provoking parallels between quantum ideas and psychotherapy. For example, most of us probably think in terms of therapeutic practice as usually being a process of slow and gradual change, yet trauma can change a person’s world beyond recognition in the briefest instant – leading to tremendous psychological distress and a struggle for adjustment. Similarly, change in therapy can also happen rapidly, often unexpectedly, and for reasons which appear to bear no connection to anything the therapist has done, or not done. The human experience of time is far from immutable. This is arguably one definition of quantum effects – that things don’t change slowly and continuously according to a predictable process, but are capable of moving from one state to a different state in an instant.
Alan will also consider the way in which client and therapist can be seen as ‘entangled’, such that a change in one may appear to impact the other, even though they may be separated in time and space. He will also invite discussion of the role of “superposition” – the idea that all outcomes remain possible until the act of observation, invoking Schrödinger’s cat as a potential companion within the client:therapist dyad.
Be reassured: this won’t be a physics lecture, but a light-hearted exploration of nevertheless potentially useful ways of thinking about psychotherapeutic process.
No knowledge of quantum mechanics is required and we welcome you sharing your own experiences of what Albert Einstein famously once described as “spooky action at a distance!”
Dr Alan Priest is a visiting lecturer in counselling psychology and a research supervisor at City, University of London. He has held substantive posts at the University of Salford and Metanoia Institute/Middlesex University, where he was Director of Studies for Counselling Psychology and Humanistic Psychotherapy Trainings. He started his career in the NHS, working in Manchester and in Huddersfield & Calderdale. Now semi-retired after a 30 career in teaching and practice, he maintains a very small private psychotherapy practice in his home town of Huddersfield.
December 2023 –
The Myth of the Untroubled Therapist: Managing our personal lives in relation to clinical work
Monday, 11 December 2023, 7– 8 PM (GMT)
Dr Marie Adams
Therapists are not immune to the range of problems their clients experience, including divorce, bereavement, illness and depression. In this talk, Marie will discuss the kinds of difficulties clinicians face, based on her research involving 40 different practitioners from varied backgrounds, practising in a range of modalities – CBT, psychoanalytic, integrative and humanistic. Marie will discuss some of what she has learned about how therapists cope during times of personal strife, acknowledging that therapists are far from immune to the kind of problems with which we assist our clients. She argues that therapists need to take a step back and consider their own wellbeing yet acknowledges some of the challenges that we face when trying to do this.
Dr Marie Adams is a writer and practising psychotherapist with a research interest in how therapists’ personal lives impact their work with clients. Until recently she was on staff at the Metanoia Institute, primarily on the doctoral programmes. She is now a visiting lecturer at a number of other training centres, including the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education in London. Before becoming a psychotherapist, Marie had a long association with the BBC, first as a news producer on the Today Programme and, more recently, as a consulting psychotherapist to news and documentary staff. Her book, The Myth of the Untroubled Therapist, is a standard text on counselling and psychotherapy training courses throughout the UK. The second edition, extensively updated to consider the impact of COVID-19 on practitioners, was published by Routledge in September 2023.
January 2024 – the NWRPA does not meet in January
February 2024 –
Maternity and Madness : A psychodynamic view of perinatal mental health
Monday, February 12, 2024
In 2013 a Guardian newspaper article reported the findings of a roundtable discussion under the headline “Maternal mental health services failing women.” At the meeting, were 14 specialists in the topic including our February speaker, Karen Ashton. “Mental illness,” reported The Guardian, “is one of the biggest health risks in pregnancy.” One in 10 mothers suffer from it, either before or after the birth. As counsellors and psychotherapists, we know that untreated psychological distress and mental ill-health can have devastating and far-reaching implications. The rest of the mother’s life can, potentially, be affected, as can the life of her child and the lives of future generations of the family. Over 10 years on, Karen provides an overview and will offer fascinating insights from a psychodynamic perspective.
Katrina is a psychodynamic and psychoanalytic psychotherapist working both in the NHS and privately. She has also been a midwife for 40+ years, working in the NHS, and for many years specialising in peri and post- natal mental health, meaning she is uniquely placed to provide experiential and theoretical perspectives on this fascinating topic.