The Self in Context: Working with Psychosocial Factors in the Consulting Room.

Stephen Callus

4 Saturdays: 2nd Mar 2019, 30th March 2019, 27th April 2019, & 1st June. 10:30- 16:00

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

Course cost: £520+ booking fees, 20% discount + booking fee for Wimbledon Guild counsellors ONLY you must purchase your ticket via your Wimbledon Guild email address / Limited Early-bird discount of 15% + booking fee available until 2nd December 2018 or until sold out.

The course is limited to 20 participants.


What does this course have to offer?


The course will help participants begin to develop a psychosocially-informed awareness of counselling and psychotherapy practice in a pluralistic world.


What does “psychosocially-informed awareness”mean?


Being psychosocially-aware means:

  • Thinking about the social and cultural context of lived experience, the struggles of living, and the diversity of that experience
  • Critically considering the inter-connectedness between the social and cultural world and the inner world of the individual
  • Reflecting on how the social and cultural context impacts our work as counsellors and psychotherapists


Who is it for?

This course is open to qualified counsellors and trainee counsellors in the last year of their training who are willing to:

  • Explore, reflect and think critically about themselves as practitioners, bringing some of their own experience, case-examples and dilemmas
  • Reflect on the social and cultural contexts of themselves within the group
  • Bring an open mind
  • Embrace ambiguity and complexity


About this course:

  • This four-day course explores some of the assumptions that underpin counselling and therapy, including:
  • Thinking about the roles others play in the development of self and other, how we construct senses of self and other, and the purposes of these identities
  • Exploring the ways, we think about the things we struggle with in life (including the role of diagnosis and mental illness/wellbeing)
  • Opening up spaces to look at how we construct our roles as counsellors and therapists, from a range of counselling modalities, within the social and cultural context.
  • This course draws on developments in counselling and psychotherapy literature and psychosocial studies. Reading material will be given ahead of each day.

Each day builds on the previous day, and will consist of discussion, input, some experiential work, case examples or supervision of clientwork, or audio-visual resources.

A written reflection on the day: After each workshop each participant is invited to email me a short (maximum 400 words) reflection on how you find yourself responding to the topics discussed and what questions you’re finding yourself asking. Further details about this reflective task will be given nearer the time. 


Delegate information required for the course:

In order for you to have the best training experience on our course, we require you to fill an a form detailing information regarding your previous training and experience, which will be sent to you after booking. Please complete this form within one week of booking your course via Event Brite and return to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the unlikely event that Wimbledon Guild counselling decides the course is not suitable based on the received application form, we will then reimburse full fees.

Additionally when booking onto the course we would be unable to honour bookings where this form has not been completed.

In the unlikely event that Wimbledon Guild counselling decides the course is not suitable based on the received information form, we will then reimburse full fees.

Additionally when booking onto the course we would be unable to honour bookings where this form has not been completed. 


Some of the themes we’ll explore during the four days:


Day 1             Theories of self/identity/subjectivity

What counselling theories say about how we and our clients, acquire a self. Who or what is this “I”? How do we go about defining ourselves? Why is this important? What is a healthy sense of self?

We’ll consider, among others, Freud, for example, and his understanding of the self as split, or at war with itself; the object relations idea of the True Self; the Rogerian prizing of subjectivity and autonomy; the humanistic view of self-actualisation; Jung’s idea of individuation etc. We’ll look at what some of the philosophers have to say about self and subjectivity. Subjectivity “… as a particular, perhaps culturally specific, emergent consequence and expression of relatedness.” (Spinelli). Individuality as a culturally grounded phenomenon.


Day 2             Mental illness and wellbeing

The social context of mental illness and wellbeing. We’ll look critically at the evolved language and meanings of the malfunctioning self, eg, neurosis, the developmental struggles and deficits along the way, insecure attachment, trauma, mental health, psychiatry, the role of diagnosis and the pervasive influence of, and the politics of, the medical model. We’ll explore the rise of cognitive and behavioural psychologies and positive psychology. We’ll consider different ways of understanding, for example, depression and anxiety, including from the perspectives of evolutionary psychology, existentialism and the transpersonal.


Day 3             Being other: ideas about community, social norms and belonging

Why the world seems to be split between us and them. Here we’ll further explore difference and diversity. What makes you and I different? We’ll revisit the idea of the formation of self as the definition of “not-you”. We’ll explore radical identities, multiple selves, the role of power in difference. Does difference matter? We’ll consider the role of defences like projection and splitting, and the Jungian idea of the Shadow. The human fear of difference, and the rendering of other as an object (ie devoid of subjectivity and making the other become invisible - the reductionism of difference).


Day 4             Theories of therapy - making sense of what we do in the context of a diverse, pluralistic world

We’ll consider counselling and therapy and their different ways of formulating and understanding human distress, as themselves culturally embedded.

We’ll consider our therapeutic or clinical assumptions, our hopes for our clients (and ourselves?), what we might consider good therapeutic outcomes, as likewise culturally determined and supporting power relations in society.

Should therapists be addressing difference in the counselling relationship and if so, how and why?

Loosening our need for therapeutic “certainties”, learning to hold theory “lightly”, and making constructive use of uncertainty.

Re-orienting ourselves as practitioners to the uniqueness of each person’s subjective experience of being alive, facing limitation and death, and constructing meaning, but bringing with it an intersubjective awareness.



This is a four-day course. However, if a participant is unable to attend the full course they will still receive a certificate of attendance based on the amount of hours attended.



Some initial reading suggestions:

Nick Mansfield, Subjectivity, Theories of the Self from Freud to Haraway, (2000)

Rod Tweedy, The Political Self, (2017)

Kath Woodward, Psychosocial Studies - An Introduction, Routledge, (2015)

A fuller list of resources will follow, and further reading material suggestions will be emailed to participants during the course.


The trainer

Stephen Callus is a BACP and UKCP registered psychotherapist, trained in integrative/body psychotherapy at the Chiron Centre in London. He has a private practice in central London.

He also teaches on the Foundation Year at The Minster Centre, in North London, and at Birkbeck College. He was also one of the co-tutors on the Diploma in Attachment-based Counselling at Wimbledon Guild and taught second year students on their psychosocial degree at Goldsmiths College.


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