An introduction to counselling people with severe and enduring mental health illness

This workshop is for counsellors who wish to explore some of the key issues surrounding working with clients who may have previously been given a diagnosis of a severe and/or enduring mental health problem. The aim is to enhance our awareness of this client group and their needs, and to deepen our self-awareness of some of our own attitudes and behaviours in connection with this client group.

Some of us occasionally feel “out-of-our-depth” or anxious about engaging with clients who have a diagnosis of a major mental health illness such as, for example, schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder.  The focus of this study-day will be that this client group, whilst presenting with specific needs, are people who are no different in many regards to our regular counselling clients and who may, therefore, benefit from a therapeutic space to work on issues.

The workshop will give us the opportunity to explore some of our own experiences, assumptions and beliefs about ourselves and contact with this client group, and how these might impact upon our engagement with these clients.  We will also look briefly at wider issues of prejudice and stigma, and how society treats this client group.

There will be an overview of the different categories of major mental illness and the signs and symptoms that they may or may not present with.  However, I appreciate that for many a “diagnosis” can be prejudicial and its association with the medical model very unhelpful.  We will seek to review how we work with this client group whilst maintaining contact with statutory mental health services. We will consider the limitations of counselling and issues around managing risk. And we will review the importance of “looking after ourselves” and the place for supervision.

The style of the course will include some up-front teaching and whole group discussion, some small group work, and individual reflection.

P-j Charters has worked with people with severe mental health problems, in a variety of settings, and is passionate about working with this client group. As a team member for an inner city acute mental health admission ward, as a Community Psychiatric Nurse and Care Co-ordinator and then for over 10 years as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist working as part of an early onset psychosis service in inner city London.  He is an accredited BABCP therapist and supervisor, and is currently a volunteer counsellor with Network.

Download the flyer and booking form here:

CPD Mental Health Issues – flyer

CPD Mental Health Issues – booking form

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