Continuing Professional Development Courses

TOWARDS A SHARED LANGUAGE OF PAIN: Exploring the body, chronic pain and illness in the consulting room.

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Sarah Benamer

Saturday 6th October 2018 10:00 – 16:00

Drake House, 44 St Georges Road, London SW19 4ED

Workshop cost: £120 + booking fee / 10% discount for Wimbledon Guild counsellors/ Early-bird discount of 15% available until 6th July 2018 or until they sell out.

The Workshop:

This training day will aim to afford practitioners the space to explore different ways to think about the chronic pain and illness that presents clinically, and to consider their own relationship with pain.

In contemporary western society medical and pharmaceutical models prevail and pain has seemingly become a commodity with the accompanying idea that it can be ‘managed’ or neatly dispatched with the right pill, action, or behaviour. Clients experiencing chronic illness and pain, whose symptoms do not respond in this way often come to us feeling that they have failed or been failed by these paradigms.

However, the counsellor and psychotherapists consulting room is not immune to the seductive notion of cure. We can often feel impotent, that our empathy is not enough and that we must immediately ‘do’ something beyond the usual to alleviate the suffering. Pain by its very nature compresses the space to think, and maintaining a light touch is not always easy as the combination of physical and emotional distress can bring with it an urgency to know and react. The idea of being in or around pain will evoke our own defences; we may subtly detach rather than attach, or we may yearn to rescue, and when we inevitably fail our clinical practice can emulate the cycles of hope and despair that are inherent to living with chronic illness and pain.

Appreciating pain from both an outside in and an inside out perspective, the day will draw from socio-cultural, relational, and attachment theories as well as our own individual understanding and experience of pain, with the aim of thinking about how we may best support clients presenting with physical pain and long term debilitating medical conditions as an aspect of their sense of self. Ultimately to not lose sight of the power of finding meaning, attachment and connection in the face of pain.

The day will include:

  • Relational, attachment, and developmental perspectives on the body.
  • Theories of pain. Socio-cultural, attachment, medical models, understandings from neuroscience.
  • The felt experience and consequences of living with chronic pain and illness; such as self-blame, anger, and shame.
  • Some thoughts on specific conditions, and the opportunity to reflect upon clinical material.
  • What can we do without rescuing? Considering the process of acceptance, and grieving a lost body and life, towards facilitating clients in pain to feel that they have increased choice and agency.
  • The Therapists pain and self-care.

The Trainer:

Sarah Benameris a UKCP registered Relational Attachment Based Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and supervisor who works with individuals and couples. She has a particular interest in the many roles of the body in our emotional and relational worlds. Sarah originally trained as a psychotherapist at The Bowlby Centre and has subsequently undertaken a COSRT psychosexual and couples therapy training. Prior to becoming a psychotherapist Sarah was a community worker, advocating for those in crisis within the NHS psychiatric system, for individuals in chronic pain, and for people with long-term illness and severe physical disabilities. In addition to therapeutic training she has an MA in Applied Anthropology which informs her integrative approach to clinical practice.



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Booking Conditions


or until they sell out


About Us

Since 1907, The Wimbledon Guild has provided a range of services to support local people of all ages.

Today our wide-ranging services are available at little or no cost to people who live or work in Merton. We are currently providing more services to more people than at any other time in our history. Many local people experiencing financial, material and emotional hardship are unable to get the support they need anywhere else.