Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association and UKCP Universities Training College International Conference 2018


Love, Sex and Psychotherapy in a Post-Romantic Era

How do our 'romantic' values as psychotherapists and counsellors affect how we work with our clients/patients regarding their relationships? Do we embody values from a previous era that are inappropriate for the era we are in now which some term ‘post-romantic’? For example, do we really privilege monogamous relationship? There again do those psychotherapists who advocate polygamy really want others to legitimise their own desire to have affairs?   How wary should we be of accepting such prevailing theories as Freud’s nuclear family romance and his ‘ordinary unhappiness’? Are we value-free regarding romanticism/post-romanticism and should we be? Is ‘to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part’ still an ideal worth working towards or more an ideological imprisonment? This conference seeks to explore through case studies, personal experiences, theories of different modalities and recent research how our notions of romanticism and post-romanticism affect our therapeutic practices.

The UPCA/ UTC joints-conference committee particularly welcome papers that would make a contribution to this debate together with those which raise more general questions about our practices, theories and research. There will be 15 minutes for presentation and 5 minutes for questions. Please send the proposed title of your paper together with an abstract (maximum 200 words) and a brief CV (maximum 100 words) to: admin@upca.org.uk. The deadline is 12pm on 26th October 2018. Papers will be considered for inclusion as they are submitted, with final notification being made on 2nd November 2018. 

Prof Del Loewenthal - UPCA and Conference Chair 

UPCA Conference 11th November 2017


Internet psychotherapy, supervision and training:


are you providing this - should you be? 


The rate of change brought about by our digital era appears at the very least exponential. It is affecting how we live our lives involving both the 'what' and the 'how' of what clients/ patients bring, together with how we as psychological therapists practice. The internet provides for us such potential changes as: Whether we access clients/patients through our own websites and electronic directories, whether we communicate with our clients/patients through mobiles, text, emails etc.; whether we accept payment by electronic transfer, through to whether we provide therapy, supervision and training using the internet. This conference is designed to not only explore the possibilities the internet can open up for us but also whether these changes stand up as worthwhile in the light of criticisms that it changes the very nature of our project.




What are the benefits and limitations of the internet for either therapist or client? What opportunities does it open up or close down? What might it help reveal or conceal? Does it, for example, provide access where previously geography or mobility would have been restricting? Or does it fail to allow for the very nature of psychotherapeutic knowledge, which might only be present with the face-to-face as opposed to the inter-face? Thus, whilst there are opportunities for us to get into 21st century technology there are many warnings. For example, Heidegger cautions us against developing a technicity where the problem becomes we are only interested in what functions. Derrida argues that ‘what is no longer archived in the same way is no longer lived in the same way’. Whereas for Levinas, our (ethical) relation to one another ‘takes place in the concrete situation of speech’. What then might be the relation of the ‘virtual consulting room/training room/supervision’ room to ‘the concrete situation of speech’? Also, what might interactive therapy/supervision/learning on the net – in the potential absence of an embodied listener - imply for ‘responsible relatedness’?




So, should one embrace all or none of how the internet can affect psychotherapeutic practice, and what are the, if any, helpful places in between? This conference is designed to provide an opportunity for two audiences: Those who have had little involvement with the internet, and are wondering whether now is the time to consider venturing further; and, those who are already very involved with aspects of the internet in therapeutic provision and may wish to think again!




Conference papers presented 2015

Keynote speakers:

Aonghus Gordon   Focus grasp and step - Contemporary apprenticeship learning; John Lees   The advent of the manager-practitioner and the death of the practitioner-researcher: the end of professionalism in counselling and psychotherapy?; Arthur Musgrave   The emergence of 'state-endorsed therapy'...? Michael Rustin   Psychotherapy in a neo-liberal world; Del Loewenthal   Psychotherapy and counselling: From cottage industry to factory production - can we survive, do we want to? 

Parallel Presentations:

Catherine Altson   What are the perceived implications, if any, for non-IAPT therapists working in an IAPT service?; Anthony Johnstone   When IAPT came: a folk narrative concerning ethical practice; Mo Mandic   Work, alienation and the limit and scope for psychotherapy; Elizabeth Nicholl   Psychiatric diagnosis: medicalisation, market forces and society; Sharon O' Driscoll   Fear of the free thinking therapist; Denis Postle   Short film: The Psycommons and its enclosures - professionalized wisdom and the abuse of power; Anastasios Gaitanidis   Psychotherapy and commodity fetishism; Gillian Brooks   Time-Limited Endings in Therapy - a Heuristic Study; Paul Atkinson   Psychotherapy’s embrace of neoliberalism: are we interested in alternatives?; Jean Burke   The Psychotherapist's experience of being courageous in their practice